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Electronic charts support safety in the Pacific

Electronic charts support safety in the Pacific

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga have welcomed the completion of electronic navigational charts for the south-west Pacific.

The development of these charts by Land Information New Zealand for Niue Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and Tokelau is part of an initiative funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme to improve maritime safety in the region.

“Maritime safety has long been a concern in the south-west Pacific, with many charts no longer meeting the needs of shipping in the area. The problem has worsened recently through the increase in large cruise vessels navigating in the poorly charted region,” Mr Williamson says.

The International Maritime Organisation under the Convention on the Safety of Life At Sea set 2012-18 as the deadline for certain vessels, particularly passenger vessels, tankers and other large ships, to transfer from paper based navigation to the sole use of electronic charts.

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says until now these areas have relied on paper charts only, and New Zealand’s aid commitment to support tourism made it imperative they be converted to electronic form.

“While these charts have limitations due to the age of the original data, Land Information New Zealand is continuing hydrographic risk assessment work to prioritise areas for survey. This will determine the nature and scope of chart improvements.”

Risk assessments have been carried out in Vanuatu and the Cook Islands, and LINZ will soon finish risk assessment work in Tonga.

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