New safety and service standards at sea introduced

New safety and service standards at sea introduced
Republic of Indonesia Navy ships.

After imposing minimum service standards on the airline industry, the government has begun to impose similar schemes on sea and rail transportation.

The Transportation Ministry recently issued two new ministerial regulations (PM) regarding safety and service standards for sea transportation, and is currently drafting a regulation to enforce minimum standards on railway transportation, according to ministry officials.

"We have issued two new regulations that further underline the importance of minimum safety and service standards," Bobby Mamahit, the ministry's director general for sea transport, said during a press briefing in Jakarta on Friday.

"We hope that these regulations will result in more compliance with rules, whether by authorities, service operators or passengers on sea transportation. Everyone is responsible."

The first regulation, Transportation Ministerial Regulation No. 20/2015 on safety standards in the seafaring sector, is meant to complement the 2008 Seafaring Law and the 1974-ratified International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, which is imposed on Indonesian-flagged ships sailing in international waters, according to the ministry official.

"The ministerial regulation is designed to extend the existing regulations to ships sailing within Indonesian territorial waters," Bobby said, adding that the safety standards specified issues relating to human-resource management, facilities, standard operational procedures and all applicable sanctions.

For example, Article 199 of the ministerial regulation stipulates that onboard authorities must have certified medical skills in first aid and in emergency situations.

The second regulation, PM No. 37/2015 on minimum service standards in the seafaring sector, guaranteed the rights of passengers to receive high-quality services onboard ships and at seaports, Bobby explained.

He went on that the regulation specified minimum service standards for safety, orderliness, health and comfort, including providing disabled access, metal detectors and waiting rooms prior to embarkation.

These regulations come in the wake of recent turmoil in the airline sector, whose reputation has been sullied by lengthy and widespread Lion Air flight delays two weeks ago, as well as by the loss of AirAsia flight QZ8501 at the end of last year.

The Transportation Ministry recently announced a plan to issue Ministerial Regulation No. 30/2015 on administrative sanctions in the aviation sector, permitting the imposition of sanctions on air transport operators that fail to meet safety, security and service standards.

The changes are also an attempt to jumpstart development in the Indonesian marine tourism sector, which is part of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's plan to turn the country into a global maritime power.

Previously, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Indroyono Soesilo announced the government's plan to simplify entry permits for sailing ships, yachts and cruise ships.

One solution, Indroyono suggested, was the construction of seven marinas at locations lining the primary eastern yacht route: Saumlaki, Ambon, Kupang, Labuan Bajo, Belitung and Tanjung Pinang.

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