The number of ferry deaths in Southeast Asia recorded over the recent period is unacceptable in the 21st century, said Head of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Public Information Services Lee Adamson while speaking to UN Radio.
The entire region is characterized by countries that are groups of islands, therefore the ferries are vital links for internal commerce and passenger transport, Adamson said while speaking ahead of IMO’s Ferry Safety Conference in Manila, the Philippines, 24 April.
Nearly a billion passenger journeys were made in 2013 Southeast Asia alone, according to the figures by the industry body Inteferry.
The ferry safety has been a major issue in this part of the world for some time now as thousands of lives are being lost.
Sine 2000, there were 163 accidents that took the toll of over 17,000 lives, majority being local inhabitants. Around half of those deaths were occurring in China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh, Adamson said.
This is a burning issue, Adamson explained, in an environment when shipping is becoming a great deal safer under measures and regulations adopted by the International Maritime Organization.
Therefore, the region needs to learn from the experiences from other regions in operating ferry services like those in the US, Mediterranean and Scandinavia so as to push for better safety standards, Adamson added.
World Maritime News Staff