After the 11th of March 1990, when Lithuania was non aligned with the main international maritime conventions, the need to have Maritime Safety Administration was not perceived right away, therefore, specific maritime law acts were not founded nor issued. Ships flying the flag of Lithuania continued to work according to the relevant instructions and regulations which in force in the USSR, because control institutions in foreign ports demanded the compliance with the requirements of international maritime conventions.
At that time the functions of a maritime safety administration in Lithuania were executed by the inspections directed by the masters of Klaipėda marine merchant and fishing harbours and newly established departments: Water Transport Department in the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Fishing Fleet Department in the Ministry of Agriculture. Initially both departments (independently from each other) operated in Klaipėda, later Water Transport Department (WTD) was moved to Vilnius.
Since December 1991, when Lithuania acceded to a number of essential international maritime conventions and international organizations started perceive the Republic of Lithuania as an independent subject of international maritime law, it has been increasingly difficult to put in practice the requirements of the international conventions, because WTD of the Ministry of Transport and Communications could legally control only the activities of Lithuanian Shipping Company’s (LISCO) ships. Meanwhile in the beginning of 1996 already 83 ship owners in possession of 328 seagoing ships were registered in Lithuania (today there are 90 such owners and over 248 ships).
The need for Maritime Safety Administration in Lithuania was felt in the end of 1995, when Lithuania joined the International Maritime Organization and became its 154th member. At the time the functions of Maritime Safety Administration were executed by the Harbour Master’s Office, which was a part of the State Enterprise ”Klaipėda State Sea Port Authority” (hereinafter referred to as the Port Authority).
The State Enterprise ”Klaipėda State Sea Port Authority”, which is primarily responsible for the promotion and proper functioning of Klaipėda State Sea Port, was not able to ensure Lithuania’s international commitments in the area of the maritime safety and prevention of pollution from ships, because commercial interests of the port were not compatible with the applicable maritime safety requirements. Therefore, trying to ensure the compliance with international and other legal provisions for maritime safety and prevention of pollution from ships which are in force in Lithuania, as well as to supervise proper compliance of 248 ships registered in the Register of Seagoing Ships of the Republic of Lithuania with these requirements, the execution of these functions was assigned by the Maritime Safety Law of the Republic of Lithuania, adopted on 29 August 2000, to the Lithuanian Maritime Safety Administration, which is a budgetary institution founded by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
On 8 November 2000 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the resolution No. 1360 ”Concerning the Reorganization of State Enterprise ‘Klaipėda State Sea Port Authority’”, which established the reorganization of the Port Authority by division: a part of the Port Authority, which continues its activity, is detached and a budgetary institution Lithuanian Maritime Safety Administration is established on its basis.
Implementing the above mentioned resolution and relevant provisions of the Maritime Safety Law the director of the Port Authority established a branch office ”Maritime Safety Administration” of the State Enterprise ”Klaipėda State Sea Port Authority”, which started its activity on 1 May 2001. The director of this branch office was directly subordinate to the director of the Port Authority.
The implementation of the provisions of the Maritime Safety Law of the Republic of Lithuania in respect to the establishment of Maritime Safety Administration was finally completed in 25 June 2002, when the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania approved the regulations of the Lithuanian Maritime Safety Administration by the order No. 3-313 of 25 June 2002 and the Department of Statistics within the Government of the Republic of Lithuania registered the Lithuanian Maritime Safety Administration on 26 June 2002. In this way the Lithuanian Maritime Safety Administration, an independent maritime state institution, started its activity implementing the set of tasks: to implementation of the compliance with the provisions of laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, international maritime legal acts which regulate maritime safety, in navigation enterprises, ships and sea ports, as well as State control of the compliance with the provisions of laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, international maritime legal acts which regulate maritime safety and prevention of pollution from ships.
Since 2010, Lithuanian maritime safety administration carries on functions related to inland waters shipping.
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