An Action Plan adopted at recent IMO Forum in Suva, Fiji, to address safety concerning Pacific area dometic ferry operations.
Recent losses of domestic ferries worldwide, including the sinking of the Rabaul Queen in Papua New Guinea in February 2012, have increased awareness of the need to consider a more holistic approach to domestic ferry safety.
The Pacific Forum provided an opportunity for PICTs, development partners and key organizations and the maritime industry as a whole, to collaborate in discussion. The intention now is to develop regional support to address specific national solutions, thus ensuring that domestic ferry safety policies, procedures and activities will be effective, sustainable and relevant to local situations.
The Forum focused on a number of broad issues related to domestic ferry operation including safety programmes, vessel-specific concerns, legislative, regulatory and compliance matters, seafarer training and certification, operational issues, search and rescue and safety awareness activities.
Current and emerging domestic ferry safety issues were discussed at the Forum, as well as concerns and trends from international, regional and national perspectives. The goal was to identify outcomes that can be put into practice by national Maritime Administrations and the maritime industry, resulting in safer ferry operations throughout the region.
The Pacific Forum was attended by forty-five participants from the public sector (administrators and policy makers) and private sector (shipowners, operators, maritime training institutions) that have responsibility for the implementation, enforcement and application of national requirements related to the safety of domestic ferries in their countries.