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NEW Zealand has announced it would spend NZ$12 million over the next four years on the Pacific Maritime Safety Program (PMSP) going.

The program delivers maritime safety initiatives to seven Pacific Island countries: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The funding, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026, marks the fourth phase of the program.

The PMSP is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade program, funded through the International Development Co-operation program and delivered by Maritime NZ.

PMSP4 will deliver initiatives across five outputs – community education and awareness, legislative support, maritime training, domestic vessel safety and search and rescue/marine pollution response.

In delivering the program, the PMSP team works with Pacific Island governments and communities to improve maritime safety through supporting changes in systems, attitudes and underlying safety culture.

PMSP manager David Billington said these sorts of changes are likely to be generational.

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“The PMSP is designed to support long-term change by empowering Pacific leaders in maritime safety, by delivering education to young people and communities, and by targeting initiatives that will have long-term benefits such as regulatory reform,” Mr Billington said.

He said the confirmed funding would help build safer, more resilient, Pacific maritime transport.

“I’m proud to work with the program and see first-hand the positive effects it is having on safety in the Pacific,” he said.

Mr Billington said one of the program’s strengths was the way it encompassed many aspects of maritime safety.

Examples of recent PMSP activities include:

Niue: supporting the development and implementation of a water safety program for school children which is now embedded in the school curriculum, teaching Niue’s youngest citizens the foundations of water and maritime safety.

Cook Islands: working alongside their maritime department officials as they inspected their commercial vessels, providing professional mentoring and support and helping ensure those vessels were safe for Cook Islanders and visitors.

Kiribati: supporting the provision and distribution of subsidised EPIRBs to artisanal fishers along with safety education and training workshops on outboard motor maintenance.

Multiple PMSP countries: supporting the review and strengthening of maritime legislation to allow their governments to regulate the maritime sectors more effectively.

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