24 Sep 2018

More funding committed for maritime safety programme

9:15 am on 24 September 2018
A joint-agency programme aimed at improving maritime safety in the Pacific provided a purpose-built response boat for the Kiribati Police Maritime Unit

Photo: Maritime New Zealand ©2018

New Zealand's maritime safety agency has committed US$6.3 million over three years to improve safety at sea in the Pacific.

The Maritime New Zealand programme was set up in 2012 following a number of disasters, including the sinking of passenger ferries in Tonga and Kiribati.

The head of the Pacific Safety Programme, David Billington, said education, safety systems, better regulations and practical support are all part of the programme.

"We've put a search and rescue boat into Kiribati, that was the first one we did. We've had a really successful delivery of one in Niue. And we're just in the process at the moment of building a brand new vessel for Tokelau," he said.

"So that's like tangible assets in the country so if there's anyone in trouble and distress they can actually use something to get out there to help."

Mr Billington said the funding will also help develop a programme to improve the safety of Kiribati's ferry fleet, in the wake of the sinking of the MV Butiraoi earlier this year.