Wednesday, 13 June 2007

PIMLA’s second annual general meeting was held at the Hotel Kitano mini conference room in Apia, Samoa on 17th April 2007. The meeting coincided with a series of meetings including the Pacific Islands Maritime Association (PacMA) and the Pacific Countries Ports Association (PCPA; formerly the Association of Pacific Ports – APP) which culminated in the first ever Regional Meeting of Ministers for Maritime Transport on 19th April 2007. The Ministers for Maritime Transport issued a communiqué that will now be used as a plan of action for maritime issues of priority within the Pacific Islands region.

PIMLA members hard at work in Apia, Samoa

PIMLA had a successful meeting whereby the Association managed to raise its profile and visibility amongst the various maritime forums that were held concurrently during that particular week. PIMLA also obtained an increase in membership with six new members from Samoa’s office of the Attorney General (AG). The AG, Ming Leung Wai delivered the opening address at the PIMLA AGM during which he gave a biblical analogy of Adam and Eve as custodians of resources and likewise PIMLA with its pool of legal expertise should ensure that resources especially in the marine environment are well managed through robust and relevant legislation. The AG was proud that his Government had passed updated legislation on the prevention of maritime pollution in order to reflect current international standards. The revamped legislation was the result of work by the national drafting team comprised of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, the AG’s Office, Graham Powell as the draftsperson and Kerryn Kwan as both a member of PIMLA and the Principal Legal Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries.


The Treasurer’s report was discussed including ways of securing short and long term funding for the Association, which has grown steadily. This included amongst other things the encouragement of consultancies and the development of a work plan for the next three years. Members agreed that there was a need to utilise legal consultants from within the region and PIMLA was seen as a good vehicle to promote legal expertise that was available in the region. PIMLA could assist build careers not only in the AG’s Offices but also in legal maritime consultancies.


The current chair Ms Silipa Kubuabola indicated in her report that the second AGM for PIMLA had occurred already and the Association had only been in existence for 21 months. In fact the first AGM was held in Suva in July 2006 backed on to the maritime security law seminar. It was seen as the most effective way of saving costs especially when participants for the seminar were members of PIMLA. An executive committee meeting was also held and issues such as membership, raising the profile of PIMLA, maritime security, legislative reviews and a PIMLA work plan for incountry maritime legal assistance were discussed.

Selected members of PIMLA have visited countries such as Tuvalu, Niue, Cook Islands and Marshall Islands to offer legal assistance to maritime administrators and to collaborate with the AG’s Offices in those respective countries who requested assistance. All such visits were funded and coordinated by SPC/RMP and follow up visits are scheduled for 2007. The Chair also thanked SPC/RMP for its supportive role in its efforts to utilise PIMLA where possible for the benefit of PICs.

According to the Chair, PIMLA had and would continue be used as a tool for the enhancement of maritime law in the region and in order to achieve its goals and objectives relevant members would be tasked to attend important forums and to assist PICs legal officers and administrators upon request. It was noted that all current PIMLA members had full time jobs and they were prepared to undertake some of the tasks during their annual leave, which showed commitment to the course of PIMLA. PIMLA was also slowly building its profile as it worked in conjunction with SPC/RMP scheduled activities.

During the SPC/RMP retreat in Nadi in February 2007 it was noted that PIMLA had been given the opportunity to plan ahead as well as collaborate with other regional maritime associations such as PacMA, Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PacWIMA) and PCPA. It was at this retreat that Magistrate Kiniviliame Keteca, the former PIMLA Chair tendered his resignation on the basis of his promotion to the judiciary, the duties of which would require more of his time. The current Chair was then appointed as Acting Chair until this AGM. The current Chair was voted unanimously by members at the 2nd AGM to continue as Chair for the next 15 months as per the PIMLA articles of association. Magistrate Keteca was thanked accordingly for his efforts and for his support of PIMLA.


The Secretariat presented a brief progress report for 2006/2007 highlighting activities such as maritime legal assistance to PICs and the continuing review of the generic maritime legislations known as Pacific Islands Maritime Legislations and Regulations – PIMLAR.  This report noted some constraints for PICs and members were thanked for their contribution to the legal assistance country visits. Members were encouraged to bring forward any plans to review PIMLAR to SPC/RMP. Members could be compensated for the time and effort spent in the review process. The next meeting for the PIMLAR review team is scheduled to be held in Suva, Fiji on the last week of July 2007 with all costs being met by SPC/RMP.

The venue and date for the next AGM is yet to be advised.

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