Worries of Pollution at Sea

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By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK Government may soon ratify the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation of 1990. This is according to overwhelming submissions made in favour of the ascension from both the ruling and opposition MPs Wednesday in response to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Joel Kaapanda’s motion. Kaapanda’s submissions outlined the obvious benefits to Namibia, should it become part of the international protocol. Some of the benefits include serving as precautionary measures and prevention in avoiding oil pollution, strengthening the strict application of existing international instruments such as the international convention for the safety of life at sea and prevention of pollution from ships. The first to second the motion was DTA-MP, McHenry Venaani, who told the august house that signing the convention was very important for Namibia in that the country had some important marine resources which needed protection. However, Venaani expressed worry that Namibia might not be able to monitor passing ships from other countries who might be violating the country’s marine legislature. In this regard, he urged the government to look closely into supportive infrastructure such as boats and surveillance systems which ensure those caught on the wrong side of the law must be brought to book. Minister Without Portfolio, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, said even if Namibia assents to the international marine pollution convention, “there is need in future to strengthen our own legislation, not necessarily to marine pollution, but to all other forms of pollution”. Phillimon Moongo, Vice-President of the DTA, said government should look at other forms of pollution of the seas other than just oil pollution. Norah Schimming-Chase of the CoD told the house that although the government has taken its time to assent to the 1990 Convention, as compared to neighbouring countries such as Angola and Verde that have signed, “it is better late than never”. She, however, expressed worry over what would happen should there be an oil spill in Namibia’s waters before the country has become part of the convention. She urged the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to look especially into this issue. Parliament was adjourned until Tuesday.