The President of Georgia held a session regarding the development of transportation and communication sphere policy

Transportation and communication spheres' policy development session was held in Anaklia by the initiative of the President of Georgia. Prime Minister Nick Gilauri, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze and other governmental representatives attended the session. MikheilSaakashvili specially called the commission to take sufficient measures in order to improve the image of Georgian sailors.

On November 22 European Maritime Safety Agency made a decision on termination of education, diploma and certification recognition. This decision based on the inspections held in 2006 extends on those Georgian sailors that are employed on the vessels swimming under EU flags. The President of Georgia required this information from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Chief of United Transportation Administration.

Vera Kobalia pointed out that several years are necessary in order to improve existing situation, though working process on this issue must start without any delay. First step is staff changes in the United Transportation Administration. All leaders of administration were released from their jobs by her decision and new cadres were appointed already. Vera Kobalia aims to strengthen this sphere and intends to cooperate with European structures tightly. She said that it is necessary to bring European experts in order for them to study existing situation on the ground and try to improve it after sufficient resolutions and recommendations. The Deputy Foreign Minister stated that it is necessary to fulfill certain procedures in order to restore this status. First of all, presumably Bulgaria will make a proposal from EU countries to restore status to Georgia and after Georgian side fulfills formal and content based works EU will restore its status. Nino Kalandadze couldn't name exec timeliness for this procedure, because this is a long process and it depends on how the cooperation will be directed between sides. Though, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do its best in order to speed up this process.

The President of Georgia listened to the considerations of the Chief of United Transportation Administration and new leadership of Maritime Administration. Captain MamukaAkhaladze reported the President on the position of Georgian sailors. He said that these problems concern not only these sailors, but their families and relatives as well. MamukaAkhaladze considers that selections of qualified cadres, employment of young sailors in this sphere and enhancing education level and quality control in this sphere will significantly solve this problems. He said that it is impossible to come closer to European standards without this all. Though he added that Maritime Administration and Maritime Centers have already started working in this direction. The delegation of Turkish Maritime Administration that is visiting Batumi now, believes that serious progress is already observed in this direction.

"The situation is very tough in maritime sphere. This sphere had been destroying during the years. You know very well what happened in 90ies. We have received several warning letters. I am referring to the letter sent by EU Ambassador that was sent on January 29. He was warning us on the possibility of putting Georgia on the black list. Such a letter was sent to us on April 1 as well. In one month we have received a warning again and now we are facing the situation due to which thousands of people might be left without any income. This concerns not only sailors, but also their families and relatives. Especially people in Batumi and Poti might be left without any income. Envisaging the fact that these are people who buy apartments, construct new houses in these cities, employ people at construction sites and in general take their shares in country's economy - this fact might become a he problem for Black-Sea region economy and for concrete families".

"Two issues interest me - first - how we came up to this moment and who is responsible for this misfortune and second - how can we improve existing situation immediately. It is a fact that obvious and full irresponsibility - if no crime -was exposed by the officials in this sphere. Now you see what type of results could be brought by someone's incompetence, laziness, corruptness and crime. It needs to be determined and Prosecutor's Office will investigate it. We made a decision to release all employees of existing Maritime Administration. These people will directly be responsible for the existing situation in this sphere. No matter what we say - it was a huge drop in education system. The example of it is that academy was abandoned. Only pretty building was left from this academy. It is true that we have several good cadres, but in reality maritime sphere experiences a full collapse. This is why we need to extend all these decisions in future. By the way people, who were dealing with this sphere have to be held responsible as well. Practically the government should be fully responsible for this issue. Everybody had to start alarm before we experienced the total collapse of this sphere and first three sailors were left without any jobs. No one had warned me and the Prime Minister about this matter.

Now we need to take serious measures and bring this sphere in order, like we do in other spheres. It is good that the Ministry of Economy started dealing with this problem, but we have lost a lot of time before this", the President of Georgia noted.

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