Boost to efficiency, safety for shipping in PNG
With more than 600 islands sprawled across a maritime area of some 3.1 million square kilometers, Papua New Guinea relies heavily on its network of coastal shipping services.
The reliance of coastal communities on shipping services is amplified by the country’s limited land-based transport network.
Last week, the Government of PNG and the Manila Philippines headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan worth $41.5 million to fund the Maritime and Waterways Safety Project which will help improve navigational aids, allowing ships to travel more safely through PNG’s largely unchartered and often unsafe waters, making passenger and freight services more efficient.
Some 65% of the country’s population that lives in coastal areas will be the main beneficiaries of the project, which will deliver improved passenger and cargo services and provide better access to health, education, and other services. The project will make safety information more readily available and maritime safety communities of practice will be established. Regional and international maritime transport services will benefit, as monitoring and surveillance systems are renovated and search and rescue capacity improved.
The project also aims to provide direct support to local communities via an existing community engagement programme through which provincial and community lighthouse committees monitor and secure the condition of navigational aids. The involvement of local people in the project will boost community ownership and provide income-generating opportunities.
“The Maritime and Waterways Safety Project will upgrade the existing navigational aids network, reducing risks such as the blockage of shipping channels which causes serious injury, loss of life, and environmental damage,” said ADB’s Marcelo Minc. “The project will establish a safe and efficient maritime transport environment for national, regional, and international shipping traffic.”