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Safety a priority in Bougainville’s waters

Staff Reporter 8/17/2016 | |
Key initiatives implemented by the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) over the last 12 months have helped to improve maritime safety in Bougainville.
The establishment of Bougainville’s Small Craft Registration Board and the introduction of a new Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which covers all of PNG’s waters, were jointly funded by the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia.
Both governments recognise the critical role Bougainville’s waters play in promoting economic development and connecting communities to essential services.
The NMSA has worked with seafarers and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to improve safety at sea through the provision of safety equipment and establishment of small craft registries. Bougainville’s Small Craft Registration Board will oversee the registration and inspection of all small craft in the region.
The GMDSS was launched in May 2016 and provides a more effective communications system for marine safety.
NMSA CEO, Paul Unas, highlighted the benefits of these projects.
“The new communications system is of the utmost importance to the safety of vessels in Bougainville’s waters. These projects are a significant step forward for maritime safety,” Mr Unas said.
NMSA has also worked hard to provide a deeper understanding of critical safety information to local communities. Recent training has included videos, demonstrations, pamphlets, comics and practical, hands-on sessions. Village elders on Nissan Island were pleased at the outreach to remote locations and participants explained how important maritime safety was for the island. More than 200 people have been involved in learning about inspections, registration, licencing and other aspects of maritime safety.
Australian Government support for these projects is delivered through the Papua New Guinea-Australia Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP).

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