Gender equality and a safer ocean core to international meeting in Cairns, Australia


85 Delegates from Australia and Pacific nations are meeting in Cairns this week to help ensure safer and more equitable oceans for the entire region. 

For the first time since COVID19, critical priorities on Pacific Search and Rescue along with ensuring women participation in all facets of the maritime sector, will be progressed through the 5-day international meeting (27th February – 3rd March).

The Pacific Search and Rescue Workshop (PacSAR) and the Pacific Women in Maritime Conference (PacWIM) is jointly hosted by the Australian Government in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Search and rescue specialists, seafarers, women heading maritime organisations and those championing more women-led roles in the largely male dominated sector will work together to progress search and rescue coordination and effective women in maritime strategies this week.

Expected outcomes of the conference will include a re-developed strategy for improving access for Pacific women in the maritime sector (2025-2030) and the biennial PacSAR event provides a learning opportunity to build capacity amongst Pacific Island Countries Territories to strengthen their search and rescue response.  This is a fundamental humanitarian obligation to strengthen and enhance cooperation to improve search and rescue capacity in the region. 

Mick Kinley, CEO, Australian Maritime Safety Authority is looking forward to the effective dialogues and outcomes with Pacific representatives over the coming week. 

He said, “it has been some years since we have had the opportunity to meet our Pacific partners in person. We value this chance to build networks, share knowledge and skills, and develop plans to action important goals for gender equity and safety in the region.” 

SPC’s Principal Strategic Lead for Pacific Women and Girls, Mereseini Rakuita has been supporting work to drive transformational change for women in the maritime sector in the Pacific.

She said, “only 11 per cent of our maritime sector are women - that's only 1 in 10 of an estimated 16,000 workers. But we know when we have a diverse workforce, we make better decisions, so ensuring young women and girls in the Pacific are able to equitably work in the sector is a critical priority for this meeting.”The PacSAR Workshop and PacWIM Conference will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre from Tuesday, 28th February to Friday, 3rd March.

This work is being jointly funded and coordinated by AMSA, IMO and SPC with additional support by SPC’s Pacific Women Lead Program.

Interview opportunities can be arranged with participants please contact:

The Pacific Community (SPC):

Joseph Hing on Whatsapp +6799345462 and Lisa Kingsberry on whatsapp +6799252849

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA):

For interview requests, contact [email protected] or call 1300 624 633. AMSA can link directly to TV newsrooms across Australia, and internationally, from our dedicated media studio, for live or pre-recorded interviews or crosses with our spokespeople.   

About SPC:
The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organisation in the region, owned and governed by its 27 member countries and territories. 

About AMSA:

As Australia’s national regulatory body, we promote the safety and protection of our marine environment and combat ship-sourced pollution. We provide the infrastructure for safety of navigation in Australian waters and maintain a national search and rescue service for the maritime and aviation sectors. 

Information about Pacific Women in Maritime - 3rd Regional Conference for Pacific Women in Maritime

Women have played a significant role in the maritime industry, yet their contribution is often underrepresented and overlooked. 

It is estimated that in the Pacific, less than 11% of people working in the maritime sector are women, employed predominantly in support, administrative, and mid-level management roles.

Women in the Pacific maritime sector face a range of challenges, including limited access to capital and financial resources, a lack of supportive policies and legislation, and a lack of representation in leadership and technical roles.

Regional Strategy for Pacific Women in Maritime 2020-2024 

Information on Pacific Search and Rescue – 9th Pacific Regional Maritime Search and rescue Workshop

The 9th Regional Pacific Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop aims to improve preparedness and develop a cooperative approach between Pacific Islands Countries and Territories and ensure that SAR capability continue to be developed. This workshop will focus on technology to promote efficient SAR response, coordination, and prevention, as well as exercises.

It is our Fundamental humanitarian obligation to strengthen and enhance regional cooperation to improve search and rescue capacity in the Pacific region.

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