Tanzania's delayed ratification of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) laws has affected shipping business of international vessels flying the country's flag.

Director General of Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) Abdalla Hussein Kombo told the 'Daily News' here that Tanzania has not ratified several international sea transport legislations as per IMO guidelines.

"We have complaints from ship operators whom we have licensed... it takes too long to approve the laws due to bureaucracy, a problem that hampers maritime operations, including entry to seaports around the globe as Tanzania's flag flying vessels are not free," Kombo said.

ZMA is the only Tanzanian institute that registers and issues operational licences for international ships. It has issued licences to over 400 domestic and international sea vessels flying the Tanzanian flag.

But, a legislator, Hamza Hassan Juma, charged in the Zanzibar House of Representatives last week that many shipping businesses have been affected due to the delays in ratifying the laws and that some international ships have threatened to deregister should the problem persist.

Juma further attributed the employment contract termination for 1,800 Tanzanian seamen, mainly from Zanzibar, who were working with different ships to the delays in the IMO law signing. But, Kombo dismissed the claims, saying the seamen's retrenchment had nothing to do with the delayed ratification.

IMO requires its member states, including Tanzania to ratify conventions and laws, important in the safety of navigation, co-operation in promotion of the adoption and development of international rules and standards on pollution from ships within the framework of IMO; liability and compensation; and technical cooperation and assistance for developing countries.

ZMA boss said his office has been working with authorities in the union government responsible for foreign affairs to solve the problems as soon as possible for efficiency and end inconveniences facing ships flying Tanzania flags.