HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 586: 19 October 2011

Ensuring safety in shipping
The following is the keynote address by the Minister for Transpor Hon Tom Marsters at the opening of the National Workshop on the implementation of the voluntary IMO members state audit scheme (VIMSAS) held from 10-14 Oct.

Kia Orana,
To Our Distinguished Guests and Representatives gathered here today, Kia Orana to you all.
• To Mr. John Mansell and Mr. Robert McKay who will be delivering this very important programme of your workshop over the next 5 days, Gentleman, Kia Orana and Welcome to the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands officially became a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in August 2008. With that membership comes with its obligations and responsibilities.
The Cook Islands is party to twenty (21) IMO Conventions and related protocols of which some are covered under the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) of which will be the focus of this workshop.
The VIMSAS is intended to provide countries like ours with the tools to objectively assess and effectively administer and implement the mandatory IMO instruments, covered under the scheme.
The second phase of the scheme is an actual audit of the Cook Islands Maritime system. That audit will determine whether we are addressing and conforming to the IMO instruments and whether we have addressed these in local laws.
Ladies and Gentlemen, 90 % of world trade is transported by ship. In this country, 96 % of cargo from outside comes by ship. Ninety eight (98%) of cargo for our outer Islands are carried by ship. So shipping is a critical transport mode to this country.
It is therefore incumbent on all of us to ensure that shipping in the Country is safe, secure and uninterrupted.
Each one of you, from port state controllers, port security offices, ship supervisors, legal officers, maritime administrators and of course our own Shipping Registry all have responsibilities for the safety of ships and for sea-fares who serve on those ships.
I am reminded of recent catastrophes that occurred in the past two years, in nearby neighbouring states.
On the 13th of July 2009, a Catamaran type vessel capsized during an Island to Island crossing in Kiribati; 33 people perished.
On 5th of August 2009, the Tongan passenger ferry “Prices Ashika” was swamped by high seas and sank; 74 people lost their lives
Closer to home, in September 2010, the Taio shipping vessel “Te Koumaru II” ran aground on the reef in Mauke. Fortunately, no lives were lost and no Ship ballast diesel was released into the sea. An investigation that followed found that amongst other things, faulty navigational equipment and human factors were contributors to the grounding of that ship.
I trust that the issues and subjects that will be delivered in this workshop will go along way in ensuring that our Country is indeed complying with internationally accepted standards and practices to prevent catastrophes of the kind I referred to.
There is a saying in the airline business that “One Accident is one accident too many”. This applies with equal weight to maritime transportation. I wish you all a fruitful and successful workshop. Therefore it is my please to now declare this workshop open.
Kia Orana e kia Manuia

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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