Solomon Islands strengthens maritime safety

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BY ELLISON VAHI

IN the face of rising maritime accidents in the Pacific region, Maritime stakeholders recently met to identify risks and hazards affecting Honiara port. Talks were centred on the need for more trainings to create a safer environment for ships operating costal island waters as well to identify the current and future needs for safety of Navigation (SoN). Provisions of aids to navigation services were also discussed.

Project Manager of the Pacific Safety of Navigation project, Francesca Pradelli, said that the maritime stakeholders meeting has provide an opportunity to hear local views and experiences on the risks and hazards of Honiara port.

“This will be invaluable information that SIMSA and SPC can use in developing options to mitigate these risks and increase the safety of navigation in Solomon Islands’ waters.” She said

She said “SPC’s Ocean and Maritime Programme, in partnership with SIMSA, will use this preliminary information to conduct a risk assessment of the Port of Honiara based upon the Simplified Risk Assessment method (SIRA) developed by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)”.

Meanwhile Manager of SIMSA Aids to Navigation, Mr Patrick Wamahe said the project has given an opportunity for stakeholders to have better ideas on safety of navigation approaches.

“The implementation of Phase 2 will bring clear benefits to the Solomon Islands economy.”

The project will also conduct risk assessments, develop legal frameworks for safety of navigation, and improve budgetary management.

Some of the Maritime hazards identified by stakeholders for the Honiara port includes the absence of lights and reflective materials on mooring buoys; and depth variation due to a river nearby.

Solomon Islands is one of the 13 targeted countries which has been responsive to the efforts of SPC’s Pacific Safety of Navigation project and has greatly seen clear safety improvements since the start of the project in 2016. The other 12 countries targeted under this project are: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Stakeholders from the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA), the Solomon Islands Women in Maritime Association, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force’s Maritime Unit, private shipping companies, the Solomon Islands Ports Authority, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and members of the media attended the meeting and contributed to discussions.

SPC Safety of Navigation Project phase 2 activities will continue in Kiribati and Vanuatu next month.

The one day workshop, this week was implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) as part of the Pacific Safety of Navigation Project.

This was the first meeting of the sort held in the Pacific Island nation and hence, the meeting was part of the Pacific Community (SPC) Pacific Safety of Navigation Project, phase 2.

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