Caption: Port facility drill conducted by SPC in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Thursday 26 September 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Transport Programme carried out a series of maritime security and safety compliance audits along with training in Vanuatu on 2–13 September 2013.
A five-member team from SPC conducted an audit on the Vanuatu Maritime College (Luganville, Espiritu Santo) to assess whether procedures, systems, and the teaching curriculum comply with requirements of the International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention), including the 2010 amendments.
Moreover, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) compliance audits as well as port facility drills and exercises were conducted for the ports of Luganville and Port Vila. The SPC team also conducted STCW and ISPS audits on the Vanuatu maritime administration.
SPC’s Maritime Security and Safety Adviser, Alobi Bomo said, ‘The compliance audits are conducted by SPC’s Transport Programme at the request of SPC member governments. An ISPS audit is carried out every five years at the ports of entry of the International Maritime Organization member states. The process includes an assessment of security measures in place at the ports.’
Brian Riches, Deputy Director SPC’s Transport Programme, said the audits essentially assist countries to understand their degree of compliance with ISPS or STCW.
‘It’s important that the maritime training institutions are the best they can be. These audits will assist in determining the areas that need improvement, which will help us identify the areas we can provide technical assistance in so that the delivery of training to seafarers is compliant with international conventions and code,’ he said.
Mr Riches said the outcomes of the audit were good, and that international conventions and regulations are ‘being adopted fairly well’.
‘The assistance we give in auditing is part of the relationship that SPC has with each member country as detailed in the “joint country strategy”. Under this arrangement we look at ways we can assist in management, administration and training so the maritime sector can be compliant with international codes and best practices.’
The port facility drills and exercises that were conducted by the SPC team focused mainly on access control procedures and security measures. The exercise consisted of scenarios involving a tanker ship spilling about 2000 litres of diesel fuel in the port facility from a damaged hose, and a fire at the mechanical repairs workshop situated within the port facility.
Improving domestic ship safety was also a priority area for the SPC team during the visit. Under the SPC Pacific Islands Domestic Ship Safety (PIDSS) Programme, the team ran safety management system (SMS) training in Port Vila on 9–12 September. Representatives from local shipping companies in Port Vila and Santo and members of the Vanuatu Shipping Association participated in this training.
The SPC team also visited three ships (MV Roimata, MV Island Claw, and MV Tauraken II) in Port Vila to conduct on-site practical training in implementing standard operating procedures.
Data were also collected from ports, the maritime training institute, maritime administration and shipyard facilities; these will be added to the regional transport data repository managed by the SPC Transport Programme.