Pacific Island Countries and Territories signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Flag State Implementation for Domestic Ships, a global first.
Nine Pacific Ministers signed the MOU on behalf of their maritime administration late yesterday as part of the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting currently ongoing in Tonga.
The Pacific MoU on Flag State Implementation (FSI) was signed by Ministers from Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu in a regional response to some persistent issues in relation to the safety of domestic ships.
Factors that contribute to maritime casualties include inadequate resources, the technical complexity of safety standards, the need for high-level training for surveyors tasked with the implementation of these instruments, the inability to effectively collect and analyse data and political or commercial pressures.
Flag State Implementation is the exercise of the jurisdiction and control in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying the flag of a country. These include inspection, survey and certification of ships to make sure that they only sail if they are certified as seaworthy.
Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC) said: “The main objective of the Pacific MoU is to provide Pacific Island Countries and Territories with a framework to harmonise their standards and cooperate in or coordinate their activities concerning Flag State Implementation.”
“The Pacific MoU supports improved regional coordination in the delivery of safe domestic shipping services with reduced impact to the environment through regional standards, training of ship safety inspectors or surveyors and exchange of information,” he concluded.
The Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Tonga ends today.
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