9 Oct 2012

Pacific concern at lack of equipment to deal with major maritime disaster

5:38 pm on 9 October 2012

Representatives from six Pacific Islands have told a conference many of them are lacking the right equipment and training to deal with a major maritime disaster.

The representatives and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme are meeting at a workshop hosted by Maritime New Zealand in Auckland.

The Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga called for more equipment such as booms to rope off oil spills.

Some countries also said they need more training to deal with a disaster.

The General Manager of Niue's Bulk Fuel Department, George Valiana, says Niue's geographical isolation makes the need for better equipment even more pressing.

"A lot of the responses or regional assistance will take time. So what's important is that we have our own systems and equipment to deal with major spills should they happen."

George Valiana says a major oil spill could wipe out the tourism and fishing industries in Niue.