Statement by the Honourable Minster of Public Utilities
Honourable Jotham Napat
Sam Harper from the United Kingdom hydrographic office
New Zealand High Commission Rep
Distinguish quests, Ladies and Gentlemen
As Minister responsible for Maritime Affairs, I have the pleasure and honour to receive these updated nautical charts from our Primary Charting Authority UKHO.
It is indeed an important occasion for Vanuatu to be able to now be part of the regional and global community in meeting its international obligations and furthermore ensuring sustainable economic growth and prosperity to the wider communities in Vanuatu.
5 years ago the seven charts covering Vanuatu are based on old and generally imprecise survey information. The generally poor state of nautical charting in Vanuatu was and could have an adverse impact on the Vanuatu economy as well as putting the safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment at increased risk.
The work done by various organisation whom are present here today, in successfully updating nautical charts for 7 port of call in Vanuatu is testament to our collaborative efforts and continuous good working relations.
May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Government to officially thank the New Government for funding hydrographic survey on 4 port of calls namely, Luganville andChampagne Beach in Santo and Wala Island in Malekula and Pangi in Pentecost Island.
Our extended thank you also to SPC for undertaking the actual survey on all the 7 port of calls. I am sure SPC is keen to do more work on hydrographic survey work within Vanuatu and I would like to thank them in advance. Last but most importantly our primary charting authority UKHO for ensuring the accuracy of the data and finally the publishing of the charts. Please convey our utmost gratitude to the head of UKHO for the ongoing support and work that is done for Vanuatu.
Last but not the least allow me to reiterate the importance of Tourism and domestic/International shipping trade in Vanuatu. Tourism is exceptionally the key to economic growth within the wider community of Vanuatu. Increase growth in cruise vessel visits, both in terms of numbers and in terms of vessel size has already occurred each year. I can assure you all that this growth is and will continue especially in the southern and central parts of Vanuatu including the island of Santo.
The domestic/international shipping trade in Vanuatu has and will continue to grow. The economic case to invest in shore based facilities (jetties and other such infrastructure) is justified by the need to improve efficiency of cargo loading, as well as the potential for passenger numbers on board any domestic coastal vessel.
So what is the focus of this Government?
· The government would like to see more sustainable economic and social development injected into the rural community and as such Tourism would remain the key sector. Thus more hydrographic survey will need to be done on areas that have been and will be identified as potential tourist destination.
· The Government will institutionalise the office of the hydrographic services in Vanuatu to cater for future increase in vessels within Vanuatu Waters
· Last but not least the Government will continue to work in collaboration with regional and international organisation to ensure safety of life at sea, economic growth and prosperity for a wider community will continue to be sustain for the wellbeing of the people of Vanuatu.
Thank you very much and I once again commend all of you for the hard work in making Vanuatu the leading nation in cruise destination in the pacific.