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NZ boosts support for Pacific-wide maritime safety

NZ boosts support for Pacific-wide maritime safety

Prime Minister John Key has announced New Zealand will support country-specific initiatives to strengthen maritime safety in the Pacific as part an on-going, region-wide effort.

"Following a number of serious accidents in 2009, both New Zealand and Australia offered to work with regional and national organisations to improve maritime safety in the region, and this assistance was accepted by fellow Forum leaders," Mr Key says.

"The sea is effectively the main highway for most island groups - it's the principal way for transporting supplies, and ferry services provide livelihoods and a means of contact for people within the region. It's important we work with local authorities to ensure these trade and transport lines are as safe as possible for those who use them every day."

New Zealand has established a dedicated Pacific maritime safety advisor role, and new initiatives will include:

* Training for personnel operating Tonga's new inter-island ferry service, and support for staff at Tonga's Ministry of Transport;
* Assisting the Cook Islands establish new safety regulations, and funding a subsidy for safety equipment and personnel training; and
* Assisting Kiribati with search and rescue capability, including a locally-based search and rescue advisor and small vessel safety equipment.

"Our support in this area illustrates the importance New Zealand places on maritime safety in the region," says Mr Key.

On a region-wide basis, New Zealand will provide support from Land Information New Zealand to improve the quality of navigational charts.

"This will feed into work to develop the cruise ship industry in the Pacific and to improve electronic charts and survey information," says Mr Key.

The 42nd Pacific Islands Forum is being held in Auckland from September 6 until September 9. Mr Key is the Forum Chair.

© Scoop Media

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