The New Zealand Government has announced moves to strengthen maritime safety in the Pacific.
John Key, who is hosting the Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting in Auckland says the sea is the principal way for transporting supplies, and ferry services provide livelihoods and a means of contact for people within the region.
He says, following a number of serious accidents in 2009, including the Princess Ashika tragedy, both New Zealand and Australia offered to work with regional and national organisations to improve maritime safety in the region.
Mr Key says New Zealand has established a dedicated Pacific maritime safety advisor role, which will offer training for personnel operating Tonga's new inter-island ferry service, and support for staff at Tonga's Ministry of Transport.
It will also assist the Cook Islands to establish new safety regulations, and help Kiribati with search and rescue capability.