Friday 13 June 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji. For many Pacific Island communities, shipping is an integral part of travel and trade. This places a significant responsibility on regulatory authorities – many of which operate under resource and funding constraints – to ensure that vessels operate safely and do not pose a danger to the lives of those on board or to the environment.
To ensure the safety and security standards of domestic vessels and of ports serving foreign and domestic vessels, SPC’s Transport Programme is currently undertaking a number of maritime audit-related activities in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Marshall Islands. Amongst these are follow-up ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) audits to check initial compliance audits done in 2012 for the College of Micronesia in FSM, the Fisheries and Maritime Institute in Yap, and the Yap Port Facility serving foreign vessels. SPC is also conducting basic internal auditor training courses for staff at Yap Port, and the Fisheries and Maritime Institute in Yap, as well as for ports and maritime administration staff in Marshall Islands.
With regard to the safety of domestic vessels, the SPC team is also providing technical support to both countries in the development of safe ship operation plans and associated safety training for owners/operators and crew of domestic passenger vessels. This support is provided under SPC’s Pacific Islands Domestic Ship Safety Programme (PIDSS).
The team leader, Alobi Bomo, SPC’s Maritime Safety and Security Adviser, explains why the technical support is necessary. ‘The internal auditor training is to equip the staff working in the ports and maritime institutions and administrations to understand how to conduct internal audits within their organisation and to improve their existing procedures and processes… a requirement of the ISPS Code 2003.
‘The Code is really about risk management activity. For ships, it means having ship security plans and for port facilities, this includes port facility security plans, monitoring and controlling access, monitoring the activities of people and cargo and ensuring security communications are in place. Training of relevant personnel is at the heart of this…’ adds Bomo.
The SPC transport programme team will complete their planned activities to both FSM and Marshall Islands by the end of June.