Port Vila, Vanuatu – At the conclusion of the three-day workshop held this week in Port Villa, Vanuatu government agencies and commercial shipping operators agreed to establish a consultative focus group of maritime stakeholders to focus on critical issues related to shipping safety, energy efficiency and quality services.
The workshop was organized by the Pacific Community (SPC) as part of the organizations role as host of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (MTCC-Pacific). The newly established Vanuatu Office of the Maritime Regulator provided support and worked in collaboration with SPC on the event.
This national workshop was the first of its kind to be held in Port Vila, and with more than 50 participants in attendance, demonstrated the genuine enthusiasm of the Vanuatu government and maritime industry leaders towards safety and energy efficiency issues.
In his opening remarks, Jotham Napat, Vanuatu Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, stressed that maritime safety remains an absolute priority for the country. He highlighted the establishment of the Office of the Maritime Regulator, the implementation of the SPC Pacific Islands Domestic Ship Safety (PIDSS) Programme and energy efficiency measures in domestic shipping as testaments of the Government commitments.
SPC’s Regional Director, Mia Rimon, praised the inclusive approach towards maritime issues that the workshop represented saying, “all maritime stakeholders in Vanuatu must work together transparently and collaboratively on delivering safe, clean and profitable shipping services to the people of Vanuatu.”
In addition to the formation of the focus group, participants at the workshop were also on hand to witness the launch of the Vanuatu Women in Maritime Association. The creation of this Association reflects both a recognition of the important contribution women in the maritime are currently making, but also a commitment to further support and advance the role of women in the sector.
Vanuatu has a population of approximately 270,000 people residing mostly in rural areas across the 80 islands of the Island nation. Domestic shipping services are the most affordable means of transportation and provide connectivity between islands that supports the socio-economic needs of communities. There are currently more than 56 registered vessels providing domestic services between the islands making, the reliability, safety and efficiency of maritime services an absolute priority.
SPC maritime workshops have now been held in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Similar national workshops are planned for in Tuvalu, Samoa, Kiribati and Marshall Islands in 2018.
MTCC-Pacific is one of the five centers established in the world and forms part of the Global MTCC Network (GMN), project implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and funded by the European Union.