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May 25, 2009


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It is often pointed out that open ship registry does not enforce safety standards, minimum social standards or trade union rights for seafarers and it is often taken advantaged of and abused.

Please check this article here:

There are benefits of open ship registry, but the bad I believe greatly outweighs the good, and I can see why the acceptance of open ship registry in Palau has been debated for a long time, I just didn't expect it to be passed.

The benefit I see is that it might open up new jobs for locals.

But that's the only benefit I see. I think there will be more disadvantages to this as well. More ships sailing around Palau's waters, more damage to the reefs, much unaccounted cargo, bribes, more chances of obtaining invasive plants and animals, etc. Just to name a few.

I wonder who does the research in all of this...

God Bless,

Well the thing is, a ship under the open ship registry entering Palau's water can be without any safety standards. Australia recently had one incident where an oil tanker spilt all of its oil on near its shores, by a ship that is a member of the open registry. Investigations on the incident found that the ship was in horrible shape. I don't know about the captain but no idiot would pilot a damned ship.

Even if we make some money out of it, a single oil spill will drain massive amounts of resource and anything we gained through this bill, and those ships under the open ship registry don't have to pay for any damages they make (you can carry nuclear weapons on those ships and still be let go...).

This is an obvious example of "You get what you pay for". By accepting open ship registry, we/they are bypassing costs, which comes with safety and assurance.

I know we are desperate for money but how desperate are we to jeopardize our home? To me, something that starts to risk my home for a deal is absolutely unacceptable.

Alii Aramid,

You make precisely the point why I had to take longer time to work on that bill during my term. For added perspective, this bill sat with the chairman of RCTD for over two years before the committee was assigned to me. One of the issue that is to be dealt with is does Palau has an insurrance coverage for such incidences or resources for gargantuan clean up like the Valdez accident. And there is safety issues of crew and passengers on board. Plus there are issues of the Law of the Sea Conventions that Palau is not signatory to which are predicate to this legistion. I hope 8th OEK can pick on the 7th Senate version because it has nailed most of these issues and improve on it more. To make this legislation effective the administration has to make sure that we are signatory to all the conventions of the Law of the Sea first.

Former Administration was screaming for passage of this legistion but did not do its part on establishing Palau to be signatory to conventions of the Law of the Sea. Besides the Maritime Provisions in our laws are antiquated and required to be updated for the entire bill to be functionable. I hope 8th OEK will look into 7th senate version which expended resources to update it.

I am impressed by your depth of knowledge on this issue so I had to respond to your posting. It seems nobody is posting on this issue because it is quite technical and boring but will affect Palau more than the other policies. Sulang.


Senator Asanuma:
I have a question. Does a vessel registered under the Palauan flag receive protection on the high seas by the US Military? Is this part of the Compact Agreement? If so, will this have an impact on the current COFA talks?

RMI has the same ship registry scheme. I think they make millions a year, but at what cost to their reputation and do they have the tools to survey and do proper checks on the ships before they are registered?

What of concerns about ships carrying illegal cargo, be it arms, drugs, counterfeit goods, even people? How do we manage that side of things, if somehow a ship carrying these types of cargo is apprehended trying to enter ports in Australia, US, Japan, others?

Don't know enough about shipping and registration but interested to know your take on this.

Other questions - we seem to be moving towards the likes of Panama - ship registry, corporate registry, etc. Do you believe the associated costs, monetarily and reputation, is worth the money?

Would Palau as a flag state be held liable if a a ship on its registry violates laws of any port it goes to? Does the senate know what its doing?

I think that most of us know too little about this matter to make comments

If the lawmakers think that making this as law will help Palau. Good! We need to trust people we voted for. Let them do thier jobs.

All the best

If most of us do not know enough about this issue, what makes you think that the people we elected to represent most of us would?

The last thing Palau needs is complacent citizens that sit back and allow their elected officials to do whatever they want. Else we'd end up just like the FSM, having big brother SAM looking over theirs shoulders everyday.

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