ADB to Help Papua New Guinea Improve Maritime Safety and Efficiency

(Left to right) Mr. John Kaio, Acting Secretary of Department of Transport, Mr. Marcelo Minc, PNRM CD, Hon. Don Polye, Minister of Treasury, Mr. Chris Rupen, General Manager/CEO of National Maritime Safety Authority, Mr. Yasuhiro Yamauchi, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in PNG

PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) 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.

The signing ceremony was attended by Don Polye, Treasurer, the Government of Papua New Guinea, Marcelo Minc, Country Director of ADB’s Papua New Guinea Resident Mission, and Chris Rupen, General Manager/CEO of the National Maritime Safety Authority. Yasuhiro Yamauchi, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Papua New Guinea witnessed the ceremony, as the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) supported preparatory work for the project.

With over 600 islands spanning a total sea area of over 3.1 million square kilometers, PNG 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.

“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.”

65% of PNG’s population who live 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 will also provide direct support to local communities via an existing community engagement program 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 participation of women will be encouraged.