Improving maritime safety will be a key component of a multi million dollar upgrade of shipping services in Vanuatu being undertaken by New Zealand, the Asian Development Bank and the Vanuatu Government.
The work will involve a new inter island terminal in Port Vila and new jetties on Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost.
The ADB is providing nearly 11 million US dollars in a soft loan with New Zealand's aid programme contributing 12 point 6 US dollars and the Vanuatu Government just over 3 million.
New Zealand's High Commissioner to Port Vila, Bill Dobbie, says the Vanuatu Shipping Project is not only about developing services that are more reliable, more frequent and cost effective, but also safer.
"Tht's why one of the components of the project is to establish the Vanuatu Maritime Safety Administration which is going to be very much focussed on improving the way in which shipping services in Vanuatu are regulated, with a particular focus on ensuring safety. So setting safety standards but also enforcing them, which is the very much the responsibility of course of the Vanuatu Government."