（Regional Maritime Programme News letter）
Review of the Regional Maritime Programme
As part of the continual review process that SPC uses
to confirm the effectiveness of its various programmes, it is now the time for
the Regional Maritime Programme (RMP) to be put under the spotlight. This review
will involve all of RMP's client countries and will not only review the Programme's
past performance, but will seek the views of the Region's seafaring community
on its future direction.
The review aims to:
* analyse current capabilities;
* identify mid to long term capacity building needs of the region; and
* make recommendations to further improve the RMP's outputs and services.
In order to complete the specific tasks required by SPC, the review will investigate and answer the following specific issues:
* What are the priority needs of the Pacific maritime sector and how well does SPC understand and address these needs?
* What has RMP achieved in the past three years?
* What are the mid-term capacity building needs of maritime training institutions and maritime administrations in the Region?
* What are the future needs for capacity supplementation and transboundary functions?
* To what extent does RMP support such guiding principles as sustainable development poverty alleviation, and gender, cultural and environmental sensitivity?
* To what extent does the RMP strategic plan for 2003-2005 address the needs and priorities identified by the review?
Based on review findings, recommendations will be made to:
* further improve RMP outputs and services;
* identify priorities in capacity building interventions;
* inform future revisions of the RMP strategic plan and RMP's strategic planning process in general.
A draft of the review is expected to be presented at the APIMTIMA meeting in April.
Staff of the RMP (John, Peter and Inise) in front of their office at SPC Nabua campus. Apenisa (inset) is out of the country.
New Agreement in Principle
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have agreed to the wording of an Agreement of Co-operation between the two organization. The IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The Agreement provides that the two organizations will consult with each other on matters of common interest with a view to ensuring maximum co-ordination of the work and activities of the respective organizations.
Specifically, the organizations will exchange information and keep each other fully informed of projected activities and programmes of work in fields of common interest. Persons from the Secretariat of each organization may attend meetings and conferences organized by the other.
This Agreement confirms the good relations enjoyed between SPC and IMO over the last several years. IMO has provided good advice on a variety of matters that have enabled SPC to ensure that ten PICTs were included on the IMO "White List"- a published list enumerating the States that have given full and complete effect to the International Convention on Standards of Training, certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended in 1995 (known as STCW-95). This was crucial for many PICTs, since in countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu, remittances from seafarers sailing on foreign ships to families and relatives back home can contribute as much as 30% to the national GNP. Furthermore, it allows seafarers families to remain on their home islands, thus slowing the inevitable "urban drift".
IMO, through the Technical Co-operation Division, has assisted SPC develop model legislation and regulations for the safety of vessels, their crews and passengers, and for the safe carriage of dangerous goods, as well as containers and deck cargoes. IMO and SPC have collaborated on a number of conferences and work shops, the latest ones dealing with maritime security of ships and ports, as well as Flag States' responsibilities in respect of ships flying their flags and Port States' rights and obligations in respect of foreign ships in their ports.
This co-operation between the Regional Maritime Programme (RMP) of SPC is vital to assist the Maritime Administrations of PICTs which are often staffed with a handful of trained personnel, to carry out their international obligations in respect of shipping and marine pollution. As a result of this Agreement, the RMP of SPC can draw on the resources of the larger international organization, and thereby better assist PICTs in the management of their maritime sector to the benefit the Region as a whole.
A Samoan success story
It is always a pleasure to report on a success story, and the one that has occurred in Samoa over the last four years is no exception. For many years inshore fishermen had been using double-hulled catamarans built out of aluminium called alias. These vessels were built locally to a well-respected international design. These small vessels, powered by outboard motors situated in a deep well aft, worked perfectly in the waters of the lagoon or waters outside the lagoon, but close to shore. Because they had double hulls they provided a stable fishing platform and because they were constructed out of aluminium they were light. Outboard motors could be taken ashore for easy servicing. They seemed to be perfect for the job for which they were designed.
Then, someone discovered tuna were present in the waters of Samoa, but some several miles from shore. Fishermen found that tuna were more valuable than bottom fish, and went out in their alias to where the tuna were to be found, more than 50 miles offshore sometimes. The fact that they had to go further out and the seas were rougher, for longer periods of time, for long-line fishing meant that the alias had to be build bigger. So the fishermen got the shipbuilders to build them longer and wider, but for some reason, they didn't not increase the scantlings - the thickness of the hull plating or the depth and breadth of the frames and beams. So although the vessel was bigger it was in fact, relative to the smaller alias, less strong. As these vessels put to sea and went out long distances, they often encountered bad weather. Being so far away from land, they could not quickly find shelter as they did when fishing close to the shore. Sometimes they were full of large, slippery fish which acted as a partial liquid and affected the stability, but more often than not, because they were bigger, but because they were not stronger, they broke up on heavy weather and many, many fishermen lost their lives over a few short years.
The Ministry of Transport is the agency charged with maritime safety in Samoa. They saw from the way that the statistics on missing vessels, drownings or missing persons were increasing that something had to be done. Seventeen lives were lost in 1997 and in the preceding years, many more fishermen had perished at sea. In Samoa, the Shipping Act 1998 made provision for the development and promulgation of regulations in respect of small vessels. The Regional Maritime Legal Advisor had worked closely with the Marine Department of the Ministry of Transport and the Office of the Attorney General to develop the Act, and a similar team came together again to develop the Shipping (Small Vessels) Regulation 1998. These came into force on 29th January 1999 and applied to the owners and operators of all vessels less than 15 metres in length. Notices in local newspapers required these persons to obtain copies of the Regulations. At the same time they would be given instructions regarding safety requirements, registration of vessels, training and certification of crews. A transition period of a month was given to allow vessel owners to prepare their vessels for safety inspections by Ministry of Transport Surveyors.
The Regulations require that vessels of less than 15 metres in length are to be licensed (rather than registered that term being reserved for vessels of 15 metres and above) with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Meteorology, subject to the owner presenting a valid "Seaworthiness Certificate" and "Small Vessel Safety Certificate" issued by the Secretary of Transport. An application is to be made, with a fee of Samoan Tala $200, together with a certificate from the Department of Labour attesting to the vessel's compliance with Occupational Safety and Health requirements. The Secretary of Transport may refuse to issue a certificate if the vessel does not comply with the requirements of the Regulations; is not in a seaworthy condition; or is not equipped with the necessary safety equipment. Furthermore, the Secretary may withhold the certificate if the vessel has not been built by an authorised builder; or has not been constructed in accordance with approved specifications (or an approved Construction Plan); of if the vessel poses a threat to life, property or the environment. All vessels operating in Samoan waters (defined in the Act) must be designed and constructed so as to meet certain criteria, including weather conditions, operating range and equipment, as specified in Regulation 5. These vessels must also carry safety equipment such as lifejackets, lifebuoys, compass, sea anchor, radar reflector, pyrotechnics, engine spare parts, fire extinguishers, survival rations and first aid kit, as specified in Regulation 6. The Regulation also deal with training and certification of the master and crews of small vessels. These Regulations were accompanied by an extensive training and educational programme.
However, all the effort and dedication of a great number of people paid off, as the latest statistics will attest. While in the early 1990s the loss of life in small vessels in Samoa had been shocking, the last five years' figures indicate that many lives potentially lost to the sea have been saved by well thought out legislation and regulation, discussions with the stakeholders and a programme of education and training. The figures speak for themselves; 1998-7; 1999-6; 2000-5; 2001-3; 2002-0. This is a credit to the Ministry of Transport of the Government of Samoa and to all the people that gave advice and assistance.
32nd Meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA)
In November 2002, the Regional Maritime Training Adviser (RMTA) presented the achievements of the Regional Maritime Programme (RMP) to the CRGA meeting in Noumea. He also sought ratification of RMP's strategic plan.
The Governing Council of SPC is the Conference of the Pacific Community, which meets every two years. In years where the Conference does not meet, CRGA has been empowered to make decisions on its behalf. All SPC programmes get an opportunity to present their previous year's work to CRGA, and their work is usually endorsed, after questions and debate.
The meeting is a good platform to keep Government Representatives in formed of the work of each programme. Most of the aid donors have representatives at the meeting so it also serves as an opportunity to give them an overview of the work of SPC and to assure them that their funds are being used in the most appropriate way.
The RMP has always had good feedback from these meetings and last year was no exception. The questions at the end of the presentation demonstrated that the work of the Programme is well understood, recognised and supported.
The two sections of the Programme's work over the last year is summarised below:
Regional Maritime Training Services
Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) in all countries are now capable of running the required four basic STCW 95 courses. Further training of the Region's lecturers and development of MTIs should allow most countries to offer a full range of STCW 95 certificate courses and upgrade their own seafarers' qualifications when their certificates have to be renewed again in five years time.
The RMTA has advised on setting up and operating a manning
agency in Fiji. 37 new jobs have been created since July 2002. Vanuatu Maritime
School has recently placed 80 catering staff on Australian cruise ships with the
potential for another 200 jobs becoming available. There is potential for the
whole Region to benefit, with possibly up to 1,500 jobs being available, but Governments
must be prepared to assist their MTIs (with resources to train the seafarers)
and Adiministrations (with sufficient resources to manage their responsibility).
PNG and Fiji lecturers have been used to run training courses in the Region as well as those from Australia and New Zealand, thus allowing Pacific Island countries to assist other PICs.
A Seafarers' Social Responsibility Study on the social impact of seafaring is nearing completion. The STCW 95 certificate current includes training Modules aimed at limiting the damage of some of the most obvious and threatening issues (such as HIV/Aids). Further development of this training is required to promote greater socially responsible behaviour amongst seafarers. SPC in-house resources will be used to assist in this development.
Regional Maritime Legal Services
The Compendium of Pacific Islands Maritime Legislation and Regulations (PIMLAR) is about 60%-70% complete according to original expectations, but new international maritime conventions or protocols and amendments to existing conventions is increasing.
The amount of documentation emanating from IMO, and how to store, access, absorb and implement this information is a major concern for PICs with small maritime Administration staff.
Significant progress can be seen in the effective operation of maritime Administrations in some PICs,although political instability in some countries impedes progress in key areas in the maritime sector and the ability of the RMP to assist.
All states in the Region are taking their international obligations in respect of Flag State implementation and Port State Control very seriously, but some lack the ability or the funding to do the work that they understand should be done.
While ten Pacific Island countries achieved White List status in respect of STCW95, the next challenge is to retain that status when independent auditors assess the actual situation compared to the IMO submissions and the quality manuals for the MTIs and the maritime Administrations. Some effort will have to be put into achieving total compliance before the audits commence.
Security in the Maritime and Port Sectors is going to be an emerging concern in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in light of the events of 11 September 2001, the recent bombings in Bali and the hostage taking in Moscow. Pressure will be brought to bear on ships and ports serving those ships in Pacific Island countries that visit ports in the above-noted countries.
Relations between IMO and SPC are excellent with an Agreement of Co-operation being developed, and several projects being funded and implemented through a Technical Co-operation Agreement. Relations with other CROP organisations are excellent with the second CROP Legal Officers Meeting having taken place recently. Relations between USP and RMP and between FTT and RMP are good with the Regional Maritime Legal Advisor developing the former and the Regional Maritime Training Advisor developing the latter. Co-operating and assistance is unstinting from AMSA and NZMSA and professional links are maintained with the Nautical Institute and a number of university law schools.
Seafarers and Social Responsibility
A requirement of the United Kingdom DFID funding of the seafarers' training project was that an investigation on the social impacts resulting from seafaring in the Region be conducted.
Many Pacific Island countries (PICs) benefit from the remittances of seafarers. In some cases the remittances are a major component of their GNP.
However, the introduction of substantial amounts of cash into rural communities has been linked with an increase in consumption of alcohol and subsequent violence against women and children. There is also a risk of a decrease in community stability as people begin to value short-term cash gains over the benefits of traditional cultural values and subsistence lifestyles and unpaid work are devalued. As community stability decreases there is an increase in "urban drift". Other significant social issues stem from the usual requirement for seafarers employed on foreign vessels to be away from their families for extended periods.
The social impact of seafaring has not been examined in great depth. Many issues, such as alcohol abuse, domestic violence and the impact of the extended absence of the predominantly male, seafarer are clearly evident, but the effect and extent of these issues has not been fully assessed.
The STCW 95 certificate currently includes modules aimed at limiting the damage of some of the most obvious and threatening issues, such as HIV/AIDS awareness training. Further development of this training is required to promote greater socially responsible behaviour among seafarers.
To evaluate the social impact of seafaring in the Region a study was carried out at the end of last year in three countries, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji. The study, the first of its kind in the Region, highlighted some serious social issues. The work identified and established a framework for the development of the existing STCW 95 social responsibility and OHS training modules and also identified suitable monitoring and evaluation methodology to assess the progress and performance of the project.
In addition, the Regional Maritime Programme will work with other SPC programmes to assist in addressing some of these issues. Videos and information packs will be made available to seafarers and other SPC programmes will continue their work at a community level to educate on issues of sexual health and alcohol and drug abuse.
Maritime Security becomes a major issue world-wide
Terrorism and the International Response
After the atrocities of 11 Sept in the USA; the Bali bombings; and the general increase in terrorism worldwide, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), held a Conference in London from 9-13 Dec 2003 on Maritime Security. The Conference adopted new regulations to enhance ship and port security and prevent shipping from becoming a target of international terrorism. The new, comprehensive security régime for international shipping is to enter into force in July 2004. The Conference was attended by 108 Contracting Governments to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, who adopted a number of amendments to that Convention.
The most far-reaching component of the Amendments is the new International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). This Code contains detailed security-related requirements for Governments, port authorities and slipping companies in a mandatory section (Part A), together with a series of guidelines about how to meet these requirements in a second, non-mandatory section (Part B). Ensuring the security of ships and port facilities is basically a risk management activity. To determine what security measures are appropriate, an assessment of the risks must be made in each particular case. The purpose of the Code is to provide a standardized consistent framework for evaluating risk, enabling governments to offset changes in threat with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities.
Port Facility Security
Each Contracting Government has to conduct a port facility security assessment. Once this assessment has been completed, Contracting Government can accurately evaluate risk. The RMIA has developed Port Facility Security Survey form and a Model Port Facility Security Plan both of which are being used in Fiji and Samoa. Eventually, ports will be required to have port facility security plans; port facility security officers, and certain security equipment (such as fencing, lighting, a pass system and CCTV).
Under the terms of the Code, shipping companies will be required to designate a Company Security Officer for the Company and a Ship Security Officer for each of its ships. The Ship Security Plan should indicate the operational and physical security measures the ship itself should take to ensure it always operates at the lowest security level, with potential to operate at higher security levels as necessary. Also ship's staff will be required to: monitor and control access; monitor the activities of people and cargo; and ensure security communications are readily available. Ships will be subject to a system of survey, verification, certification and control to ensure that their security measures are implemented. They will have to carry an International Ship Security Certificate. The ship will be subject to port State control inspections but such inspections will not normally extend to examination of the Ship Security Plan itself except in special circumstances.
Impact on Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
Many PICs are Parties to the SOLAS Convention. These Amendments will come into force in less than 18 months time. All PICs should start putting in place all the necessary legislative, administrative and operational provisions needed to give effect to the decisions of the Conference as soon as possible. The RMP stands prepared to assist PICs take the necessary measures so that they might comply with the new Amendments of SOLAS when they come into force. If a ship does not comply with the provisions there is every chance that it will be prohibited from entering a United States port until the authorities have been convinced that it does not pose a terrorist threat. Any port that does not take steps to comply will find that shipping companies drop the Port of Pasifika from its itinerary, rather than Long Beach, Oakland and Seattle.