PAPUA New Guinea marine services company Pacific Towing has just announced it has reached an important safety milestone. The company has been lost time injury free for the past four years.

The company says its ongoing and considerable investment in high quality training and rigorous safety management systems and processes is the reason for its safety success.

Pacific Towing’s focus on safety extends beyond its own organisation. General manager Neil Papenfus says the company has collaborative programs with contractors, clients and business partners.

“Because we provide services to clients across multiple sectors we have to thoroughly understand and obviously comply with the different safety requirements of these different sectors,” he said.

“This is why the oil and gas safety training we do with our international sister companies, Swire Pacific Offshore and Swire Emergency Response, is so valuable.”


In response to COVID-19, Pacific Towing has implemented several recommendations in accord with World Health Organisation guidelines to keep staff safe and healthy, both at sea and on shore. Because of the severe limitations of PNG’s health infrastructure, the company is regularly distributing WHO health messages to not just its own staff but also their families, as well as to the broader PNG public via social media.

“Pacific Towing has been more fortunate than many other businesses in PNG and the broader region we services when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus because we already had a rigorous safety management program and well-oiled safety systems and processes in place,” Mr Papenfus said.

“I won’t say that it was easy to rapidly implement the necessary controls to mitigate the health and safety risks of the coronavirus but we did have a certain capacity to ‘hit the ground running’ so to speak.

“As a result, we’ve been able to continue to safely crew and despatch our vessels both here in PNG as well as overseas. We’ve also been able to generate some new businesses by helping out other marine service providers who haven’t been quite as fortunate.”