The deputy director of transport at the Pacific Community is calling for maritime safety to be part of all climate and environment related funding initiatives in the region.
Thierry Navale's comments come in the wake of last month's ferry disaster in Kiribati when more than 80 people went missing at sea and are believed to have died.
Mr Navale said although domestic shipping cuts across many sectors in the Pacific it is not often part of the conversation when it comes to climate and ocean related development planning.
He said this has left large gaps in maritime safety.
"I think all projects should keep in one of the goal safety. We have new, now a new project and new technical assistance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce fuel consumption to improve efficiency of shipping but we need to keep an objective of safe domestic shipping," said Thierry Navale.