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Asia Dive News : Marianas Visitors Authority pushes for new diving regulation

Amid recent tragedies in the sea involving tourists doing marine sports, the Marianas Visitors Authority is pushing for the adoption of rules and regulations regarding the marine industry.

MVA managing director Vicky Benavente said yesterday that her office is consulting with the Legislature as well as the NMI Marine Diving Association to come out with the rules and regulations.

"We are meeting with them for new regulations for our marine sports companies. We're meeting with Rep. Ray Tebuteb on how to address this," she said in an interview during yesterday's Grotto project groundbreaking in Marpi.

She said recent incidents involving scuba divers showed that "many of the dive shops are not strictly following rules" by PADI and other international scuba diving associations.

Two divers, a female Japanese diving instructor and a Japanese diving student drowned off Grotto last month reportedly after they got low on air while diving several meters underwater.

Another incident followed days later when another tourist nearly drowned while diving underwater off Grotto.

Meantime, Benavente said that in view of improvements in several tourist sites, including Grotto, which is considered one of the best dive spots in the world, the government may begin charging tourists and other visitors a minimal fee when they enter site facilities.

Benavente said this may take place three to four years from now.

She said the fees would be needed for maintenance of the sites. Right now, the government pays for site maintenance.

Source: The Saipan Tribune