The Tuvalu government says its new policy of subsidising flights for its seafarers is helping them hold jobs in a tough market.
The government newspaper Fenui says the seafaring industry has been struggling to find jobs for its workers as shipping companies find the Tuvaluan seafarers too expensive to recruit.
The paper says the shipping companies are turning to Asia for a cheaper workforce and more reliable airline services for when workers are needed at short notice.
Following a joint study by the Tuvalu Overseas Seamen's Union, the Tuvalu Maritime Services, the crewing agency APNL and the Tuvalu government, the government decided to reimburse 50 percent of the airfare between Tuvalu and Fiji, and negotiated an extra flight a week with Pacific Sun.
Since the policy was enacted in July, there has been a positive response from agencies, and the SWIRE shipping company says by November it will provide 21 jobs for Tuvaluans on board a new ship.