Tonga’s Tourism Minister Hon. Sēmisi Sika has signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Flag State Implementation for Domestic Ships in Nuku’alofa Thursday 27.
The agreement means the signatories have to enforce certain controls over vessels entitled to fly their countries’ flag.
These include inspecting, surveying and certifying of ships to make sure they could only sail if they are certified as seaworthy.
Nine Pacific Ministers signed the agreement on behalf of their various countries during the Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting which is currently held in Nuku’alofa.
The signatories were Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Ministers were also concerned about the persistent issues in relation to the safety of domestic ships such as maritime casualties caused by inadequate resources.
Director General of the Pacific Community (SPC) said: “The Pacific MoU supports improved regional coordination in the delivery of safe domestic shipping services with reduced impact to the environment through regional standards, training of ship safety inspectors or surveyors and exchange of information”.