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From January to October 2013, the accident rate with sea and river transport has decreased by 35% year-on-year, to 30 accidents. If we compare the accident rate for the third quarter versus the same period of 2012, the accident rate has fallen by 63%, the Information-Analytical Bulletin of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine informs.
Experts say the majority of traffic accidents occurs due to gross violations of shipping safety and general navigation regulations. Characteristically, almost half of the accidents involve non-registered small boats.
Among the most common maritime and river transport offenses is operation of ships that have not been subject to technical inspection, do not have on-board numbers and symbols and operate with malfunctions or without registration (almost 40% of the total number of violations).
European safety standards, which are now being implemented in Ukraine, are based primarily on a responsible attitude to human life and on tough penalties for violations of the rules, experts stress.
Government analysts say that the Cabinet have approved the draft Law "On amendments to Code of Administrative Offences in relation to increasing size of penalties for violation of safety legislation on sea and river transport."
After the bill is approved by the Verkhovna Rada, the accountability of sailors and ship drivers for offenses will be significantly increased. In particular, boating under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications that reduce attention and response, will result in a penalty ranging from 3,400 to 5,100 UAH.
At the same time, fines for driving unregistered boats, those that have not passed technical inspection, or do not have the board numbers and symbols, or have a malfunction, etc. will be increased by 10 times. In such cases, fines will grow from 17-85 UAH to 510-850 UAH. If the vessel is driven by a person who has no license, the amount of fine is increased from 51-85 UAH to 340-850 UAH.
Experts say the increased accountability for violation of maritime and river safety regulation will help reduce accident rate on the water and save many lives.