BY ELLISON VAHI
WITH goals to create safer maritime routes, managed in accordance with international instruments and best practice in recognising that there is a scope for significant improvement in safety at sea, with respect of both international ferry and cruise activities, the Independent Financial Associates Network (IFAN) in support for the SPC is currently involved in an undertaking its support of a programme in the South Pacific, that was designed to improve the level of Aids to the Navigation services.
Initially presented to 13 targeted countries – Cook Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – at the Transport Officials Meeting held in Suva, Fiji in November 2015, the two-phase project was commenced in April 2016.
While Solomon Islands was chosen as the pilot country for this project, whilst, the in-country visits to the conducted with the accreditation process of SPC as Aids to Navigation Training Organisation is now in progress with the objective of delivering the Level 2 AToN manager course 2018.
In relation to, South Pacific Community (SPC) provides a regional resource of specialist technical expertise that will strengthens, or supplements, regional and the national capacity. It also designed and, with the support of IFAN, has started implementing the Safety of Navigation project, ultimately aiming to support the economic development of shipping and trade of Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs).
From the outset, the main challenge facing the project was identified as being the lack of awareness of the importance of Aids to Navigation systems in the target countries. In addition, limited capacity of managers and technicians and, in almost all countries, an absence of AToN policy and regulation to support process, procedures and resources were additional hurdles to be overcome. SPC is focusing on enhancing and raising awareness of sustainable development of AToNs through in-country visits and capacity-building programmes.
In the meanwhile, the agreement to fund Phase II and the allocation of resources to phase II was from the review of the 2016 planned activities which completed a 92.5 percent effective rate and hence, IFAN have approved based on the phase I reports.