Improving the safety of Solomon Islands' Honiara port was in focus this week as the capital’s maritime stakeholders met to identify the risks and hazards affecting the Port of Honiara. This was the first meeting of the sort held in the Pacific Island nation. The meeting was part of the Pacific Community (SPC) Pacific Safety of Navigation Project, phase 2.
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.
The Project Manager of the Pacific Safety of Navigation project, Francesca Pradelli, said: “Today’s maritime stakeholders meeting provided 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.”
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). Maritime hazards identified by stakeholders for the Honiara port included an absence of lights and reflective materials on mooring buoys; and depth variation due to a river nearby. According to Patrick Wamahe, the manager of SIMSA Aids to Navigation, “this project really brings stakeholders together and gives them clear ideas on safety of navigation approaches. The implementation of Phase 2 will bring clear benefits to the Solomon Islands economy.”
Phase 1 of the Pacific Safety of Navigation project focused on conducting technical, legal and economic assessments, while Phase 2 will use knowledge gained from these assessments to enhance the capacity to develop and maintain Aids to Navigation in Pacific Island Countries and Territories. The project will also conduct risk assessments, develop legal frameworks for safety of navigation, and improve budgetary management.
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.
SPC Safety of Navigation Project phase 2 activities will continue in Kiribati and Vanuatu next month.