Managing Marine Aids to Navigation
The world’s largest ocean surrounds the Islands of the Pacific. For generations, maritime transport has been an essential part of the people of this region, however the safety of navigating through the oceans is increasingly being recognised as a key development challenge for Pacific Island Countries & Territories (PICTs).
Harmonized and standardized safety of navigation systems and Aids to Navigation (AtoN) are critical to ensure navigation in Pacific waters is safe for any person or vessel at sea and to protect the marine environment and they are also essential to achieve greater efficiency.
To achieve that, international technical cooperation and regional collaboration are pivotal. That is why the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division worked in tandem with the Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) since 2017 on accrediting the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Level 1 Manager Course as a micro qualification in the Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards (PRQS).
This milestone achievement was a result of two- and half-years collaboration between GEM and EQAP, that highlighted the importance of the work that SPC implements to help create relevant development solutions across areas such as maritime safety and sustainable shipping.
Francesca Pradelli, the Regional Safety Navigation Advisor (Ag) within the GEM division explained that “the process of accrediting the IALA Level 1 Manager course as a Micro Qualification has been an extremely worthwhile journey, directly benefitting Pacific Islanders and overall contributing to enhancing safety of navigation in the region. The IALA Level 1 Manager Course organized and delivered by SPC in 2019 has certified 9 AtoN Managers from Pacific Island Countries, and has equipped them with the expertise to implement the critical work of safeguarding Pacific’s waters".
EQAP’s quality assurance officer, Selai Waqainabete-Nainoca, applauded the GEM team for recognising the value in accredited qualifications and its commitment to ensuring its trainings are evaluated for accreditation.
“EQAP regards the collaboration with the GEM Division as a significant contribution to SPC’s regional commitment to the delivery of safety navigation services to the Pacific region. Now, not only will the successful graduates of these trainings have a recognised certification of the skills acquired from the training, but they will also have new opportunities should they wish to pursue further qualifications.”
The value of strengthening safety of navigation systems in the region was alluded by Pacific country focal AtoN managers.
Solomon Islands AtoN Manager, Patrick Wamahe explained that “projects like the Pacific Safety of Navigation project implemented by SPC are essential to continue to build capacity of small islands developing states in the area of AtoN that is fast developing into new technology and require quality services delivery by contracting governments”.
SPC began its assistance in the field of safety of navigation and Aids to Navigation in 2016, through the Pacific Safety of Navigation project. Thanks to the generous support from the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) and by working closely with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), currently the project assists 13 Pacific Island countries and Territories (PICTS) in building their capacity to develop and maintain Aids to Navigation, by conducting risk assessment, developing safety of navigation policies and legal frameworks, improving budgetary management, building the capacities of the maritime administrations and supporting regional coordination.
The successful delivery of Aids to Navigation (AtoN) services depends upon competent and experienced personnel to implement and maintain such services. Through the assessment component of the “Manage Marine Aids to Navigation” micro qualification, graduates will be able to acquire the skillsets needed and access opportunities for study and employment outside their home countries, improving their ability to contribute to economic growth.