The National Executive Council has approved a legislation to enact the proposed Maritime Zones Bill 2014 and repealed National Seas Act 1977.
This was announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill following a recent Cabinet meeting.
The 1977 National Seas Act has been recommended to be repealed because it is outdated and does not comply with international accepted standards for the technical and legal governance of oceans.
Since the 1977 Act, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has been adopted internationally, with new rules for delimitation of maritime boundaries, environment protection, resources exploitation for both living and non-living resources, conduct of marine scientific research, including various rights, duties and responsibilities accorded to the Coastal States to sustainably govern their respective oceans.
“Through this new legislation, Cabinet agreed to approve and recognize the new archipelagic baseline and pronounces Papua New Guinea as an archipelagic coastal state,” Prime Minister O’Neill said.
He also said Cabinet had agreed for PNG to disseminate the approved charts and maps to the UN Secretary General after the Bill was passed as law.
“Cabinet further endorsed and directed the Department of Justice & Attorney General to create an Office of Oceans to oversee the Maritime Zones legislation in consultation with key stakeholder departments and ensure it is consistent with the government’s Vision 2050,” Mr O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister also announced Cabinet’s approval to continue funding for work on the Maritime Boundaries Delimitation Project to be assumed into the Office of Oceans.