A Pacific Island programme aimed at improving and maintaining safety management on board domestic ships is currently under way in Honiara, Solomon Islands with assistance from the Pacific Community (SPC).
Domestic shipping is fundamental for inter-island connectivity and is the main means of access to and from many outer islands, supporting the socio-economic needs of Pacific communities.
For example, in Solomon Islands, safe, reliable and clean domestic shipping provides service to over 600,000 people spread across a sea area of 1.5 million square kilometres.
As part of the Pacific Island Domestic Ship Safety (PIDSS) intiative, SPC is coordinating a national workshop on Maritime Governance in collaboration with the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA).
The high-level workshop, which takes place today, brings together relevant government ministries, private domestic ship operators and other stakeholders to discuss a number of priority areas including challenges and opportunities in the domestic shipping industry, nurturing a safe shipping culture in Solomon Islands, the PIDSS Programme, as well as the role of SIMSA, activities undertaken by the Solomon Islands Maritime Transport Association (SIMTA), and the Solomon Islands Women In Maritime Association.
“Holding the high-level SPC regional workshop is the best opportunity SIMSA has to showcase its recent development and activities and get the message across concerning the role, functions and activities of SIMSA as the Maritime Administration of Solomon Islands; at national, regional and international levels relative to the mandatory obligations of a Member State of the International Maritime Organization, as well as being the agency for the safety, security and reliability of domestic shipping,” the Director of SIMSA, Tim Harris, said.
The PIDSS Programme was implemented in 2010 as a pilot project in Kiribati and Tonga, and has been extended to six more countries.
The objective of the PIDSS is to promote the implementation of a Safety Management System to ensure safety at sea and protection of the environment.
Solomon Islands has over 200 registered domestic ships providing domestic services between the islands and success of the PIDSS initiative requires the input and support of all key stakeholders including SIMSA, mariners, training providers and the domestic shipping industry itself.
The strong progress of some domestic shipping companies towards implementing Safe Operational Plans after it was introduced to Solomon Islands in 2014, paves the way for what the Chair of SIMTA, Patteson Arish Mane, concluded in the last December Issue of the Pacific Maritime Watch: “I look forward to the day when all domestic vessels in Solomon Islands are compliant to a Safe Operational Plan”.
“The benefit from an efficient management of safety on board domestic ships and adequate Safe Operational Plans is not only safety at sea but it also covers other issues affecting domestic shipping such as the protection of the environment, the reliability of services for clients, the affordability for users and the profitability for ship owners,” SPC’s Deputy Director of Transport, Thierry Nervale, said.
“SPC is strongly supporting SIMSA and domestic ship owners’ approach towards more sustainable domestic shipping in Solomon Islands,” he added.
Following today’s workshop, SPC will continue implementing PIDSS activities until 3 September, including Safety Management System auditing.
Pacific Maritime Watch Newsletter – Issue 66