Government will soon demand pleasure cruise owners to provide more security and fortify their boats to a higher standard, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey today revealed.
In a bid to ensuring the safety of patrons, Humphrey said that as part of the Shipping Incentives Amendment Bill will also require crew members to seek higher training.
He said: “I have been having meetings with persons who operate some of our pleasure boats because they fall under shipping too.
“I have been saying to them that we have to improve the security on some of these ships, we have to improve the quality of some of these boats.
“Would you believe that you can captain a ship, but what qualifications do you need?
“What are the formal qualifications you need to go and work on some of these ships?
“You take young Barbadians who want to go and party on these pleasure crafts, you and your family go on these pleasure crafts and there is a need now to improve the skills of the persons who work on those ships.”
Humphrey said greater assurances also needed to be provided by pleasure craft owners as it related to the safety of their vessels.
He said: “We need to make sure that those ships are safe.
“Every time that they leave the harbour we have to know that they are safe and that there is security in place to make sure that people are safe, because there is an increasing level of violence in this country.”
Pointing to the shooting which took place in Sheraton Centre earlier this year the Minister declared: “If it can happen in Sheraton Mall it can happen anywhere.”
While he admitted that Government would not be able to prevent incidences entirely from occurring, he said it was important those incidences were limited.
Humphrey maintained that the lives of all Barbadians mattered.
He said: “We are putting in place enough both in terms of guaranteeing the safety on the ships, but to put in place enough overall to make it tough and the penalties harsh and the system quicker to deal with people who do it.
“That is what we have control over and that is what the Attorney General is now working on and that is what we are working on in maritime to ensure that when you get on a ship your life is not at risk… and it has to be done.
“We have to make sure that these things are safe, subject to regular inspection, subject to consistent and persistent and proper training to make sure that the maintenance is done and there is a schedule and that if you want to continue to have your license you have to submit a schedule to the ministry because the lives of Barbadians matter. [email protected]