Pacific worried about potential cruise boat disaster
As the number of cruise ships entering the Pacific increase, search and rescue experts want changes to ensure the region is ready if a major maritime disaster occurs.
Pacific search and rescue experts want changes to ensure the region is ready if a major maritime disaster occurs.
This came up during a workshop last week in Noumea involving about 50 experts from the Pacific, the United States Coastguard, France, Australia and New Zealand.
The Secretariat of the South Pacific's Ship Safety Audit Adviser, Omirete Tabureka, told Koroi Hawkins that the aim of the workshop is for search and rescue authorities in the region to share best practices and lessons learned.
OMIRETE TABUREKA: Its there to bring all these players from across the region to share best practices, enhance their understanding of regional side issues and properly promote cooperative approaches for their services in the region.
KOROI HAWKINS: What is unique about search and rescue in the Pacific?
OT: The Pacific region is about 165 square kilometres in area and that is the very vast ocean. And looking at the islands most of the islands also around the region they are widely spread and remote from each other. And so any accidents that happen individually. They will end up drifting out there in the open sea. And I am talking about the small boats which are mostly they are the most cases, most common cases in the region. And even with the bigger ships if there are some maritime accidents they encountered then they surely also require these search and rescue services.
KH: And what are, you said this is for sharing experiences and lessons learned. What are some of the lessons you have been hearing so far in the conference?
OT: Like in some countries maybe the delay in communication how could that be improved. And others like boating safety. Like some of the many cases involving small boats. How could they progress or improve like the awareness works if they have some awareness workshops to the public. How could that improve the, to instill the safety culture in the region to the general public.
KH: Also I note that you are saying that there are concerns that there are, as the number of merchant vessels, cruise ships and pleasure craft coming into the Pacific increases. There might be more of a demand for search and rescue services and being prepared for this is important.
OT: That relates to the mass rescue operation and what is meant by the mass rescue operation, given the cruise liners they carry around maybe 2,000 to up to 3,000 or more people on board. So in many cases, in the event that there is a disaster that means the search and rescue services will have to deal with the, those the number of people which are very high. Two thousand or three thousand or more. And normally with these kind of cases, one search and rescue authority alone cannot handle those kind of cases. So it needs the cooperation from the other agencies around the region.
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