SUVA, Fiji—On World Maritime Day yesterday, the Pacific Community is joining with Pacific Island countries and territories to highlight the unique place of shipping in the region with the message: “Shipping is the lifeline of Pacific Island countries and territories.”
United by ocean like no other region on Earth, communities in the Pacific Islands depend on shipping to supply essential goods and commodities, such as food, fuel, building materials and vehicles, and to provide access to international markets for exports.
More than 90 percent of trade in the Pacific Islands region is carried by ships, and the region’s world renowned seafaring heritage has built up over hundreds of years.
The 2016 global theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world,” was chosen by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to focus on the critical link between shipping and society, and to raise awareness of the relevance of the IMO’s role as the global regulatory body for international shipping.
SPC’s Economic Development Division is joining in the celebrations by hosting a half-day forum in Suva, Fiji, with representatives of numerous Pacific Island countries to value the essential role of shipping in the Pacific and discuss cross-cutting issues such as health, women in maritime, ocean governance and maritime training and education.
Remarks from around the Pacific region for World Maritime Day 2016:
“World Maritime Day has particular resonance in the Pacific Islands region, given the reliance of our communities on dependable, affordable and efficient shipping services,” SPC’s Deputy Director of Transport, Thierry Nervale, said.
“Pacific Island countries also share many of their well-qualified seafarers sailing all over the world on ships trading internationally, and therefore, this day gives an opportunity to value their engagement and remember that they are also indispensable to the world,” Nervale added.
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s Chief Executive Officer, John Tunidau, said that this year’s theme is important for Fiji as the shipping industry continues to grow in size and number and ships have transformed through the years into a viable, more sustainable and economical means of transportation with 95 percent of cargo being transported by sea.
“We need ships not just to exchange goods but to transport people as well thus, we require that such journeys be conducted in a safe manner on well maintained and manned ships; steering standards in the right direction has been our contribution to domestic and international shipping and we’ll continue doing it in the future,” Captain Superintendent of Kiribati Marine Training Centre, Boro Lucic, said.
Since 1967, Kiribati Marine Training Centre has trained more than 5,000 seafarers engaged in international trade and will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
Papua New Guinea
National Maritime Safety Authority’s General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Unas said that Papua New Guinea also marks the day to recognise the efforts made by the maritime sector and the industry in being an enabler for world trade.
“Papua New Guinea has adopted numerous IMO conventions, the three main being: International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers,” he added.
Head of School for Maritime Training Samoa, Fatu Lafoai said that the Samoa Transport Sector Plan is aligned with the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day and the Samoa government development strategies embrace the development of the transport sector, which includes the development of the School of Maritime Training and Marine Environmental Research.
The Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) Acting Director of Marine, Captain Tim Harris said that shipping is indispensable at the national level, yet, in the Solomon Islands there is a tendency to take shipping services and our safety at sea for granted.
The status of seafarers is being raised and the comprehension of the importance of the work of SIMSA is becoming more widely recognized.
Captain Harris further stated that Solomon Islands has the fifth largest sea area in the Pacific and 23rd largest in the world; with the help of the Government, SPC, SPREP and IMO, SIMSA will continue to strive to raise the consciousness of all citizens to recognise that shipping is indispensable to the world.
Vanuatu Maritime College Principal, Richard Coleman, said that the people of the Pacific Islands know more than any other regional group about the importance of the sea for providing trade routes between islands and nations, as well as for populating and cultivating the far flung areas of the Pacific.
“Pacific Islanders were the first explorers and navigators of the seas, and we wholeheartedly share the view that shipping is indispensable to the world,” Mr Coleman added. (PR)