Tragedies at sea spur action in Pacific
The setting up of a working group in response to concerns about lives lost as a result of bad weather is one of the initiatives to come out of the third Pacific Meteorological Council.
The setting up of a working group in response to concerns about lives lost as a result of bad weather is one of the initiatives to come out of the third Pacific Meteorological Council. The Council met in Tonga last week and it was also the first time that Ministers of Meteorological Services from around the Pacific met in conjunction. The head of the Samoa Meteorology Division, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, says delegates are concerned about the number of weather related tragedies at sea. He told Bridget Tunnicliffe more targetted forecasting and better warning systems are needed.
MULIPOLA AUSETALIA TITIMAEA: We will be working together with our marine counterparts in the different countries in areas where we can be able to provide the early warning services in the area of marine. This is an area in which the marine services panel will be looking into in how we can improve the early warning services. Not only from storms but also from what we now call swells that might affect the coastal communities.
BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Do you think part of the issue could be that a lot of these boats aren't well equipped with communications so people can't actually be picking up signals or be reached on these boats so sometimes it's too late to warn these people.
MAT: That's part of the problem and I cannot qualify to make mention of in that regard but I think our work is to ensure that the installation of equipment on board these ships and can be relayed to our marine meteorological services. And secondly is to improve the institutional arrangements within our own services because some of our services don't delve with the area of marine to be specific to those people who are out at sea, to our shipping corporations who have boats travelling to different islands, to our own fishermen who travel out to fish, some of us do not have communications. I think to work together also with the communications people to ensure there is a radio, either HF or any type of communications equipment so that they can be able to relay back or for us to relay our information of any pending disaster that might affect the public at sea and the safety at sea is also important.
BT: Do you think fishermen generally have got good habits around checking marine forecasts before they head out?
MAT: I say specifically for us in Samoa, the fisheries division used to have a communication with the fishermen. There was this project, that they report to all the fishermen out at sea. I think we need to continue on that, we need to work together with our fisheries department and our local fishermen, such services I think need to be enhanced.
Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea says they could also do better in the area of aviation meteorology.
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