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Mr. Roy Mumu, Secretary for Transport stated that under the spirit of Melanesian Spearhead Group, PNG is obligated to assist Solomon Island Port Authority (SIPA) to improve its ISPS Code status in their ports of Honiara and Noro.

PNG Transport Department Secretary specified that both ports in Solomon Island are non- ISPS compliant ports that normally receive transshipment via Port of Lae which is under PNG Ports Corporation Ltd (PNG PCL) and is one of PNG PCL recognized ISPS compliant facility. The practice of signing a “Declaration of Security or DoS” as a routine exercise would mean an abuse of the provisions of the ISPS Code as reiterated by Secretary, Mr. Mumu. He added that anyone vessel leaving either Port of Honiara or Port of Noro destined for PNG means that pilot boats and the PFSOs are obliged to check the last 10 ports of call to ensure that relevant security measures are applied to vessels when alongside any one of the port facility in PNG.

As a concern, PNG Department of Transport established a fact finding mission to SIPA which resulted in a MOU signed as a bilateral arrangement between these two Melanesian countries. Two of SIPA’s officers as pioneers of this Maritime Technical Assistance Program were Director for Corporate Services, Mr. Benny Legua and PFSO for Port of Honiara, Mr. Nelson Kikoni.

Both officers were on secondment with Maritime Security Division in PNG’s Transport Department for a period of 16 days.

The Maritime Technical Assistance Program integrates both theory and practical application of ISPS Code that was a hand on job training which was hectic. The topics covered were; 1) How to conduct a Port Facility Security Assessment (PFSA) which also involves the actual site survey to drafting of a PFSA, 2) the process involved in vetting a PFSA before translating it into a PFSP which was the next step , 3) The drafting of a PFSP and the associated vetting process before endorsement as a live document on respective port facility, 4)Port Facility Audit , 5) Drills and Exercise planning to the actual activity and to furnishing a report were the final topics in the program.

Both officers in the attachment program were privileged to observe the different ISPS Security application in their visits to 1) Puma Energy Ltd.’s Port Facility (Crude Oil), 2) Exxon Mobile Port Facility (PNG LNG), 3) Curtain Brothers Motukea International Port Facility (General Cargo) for the port facility inspection and finally 4) PNG Ports Corporation Ltd, Port of Port Moresby (General Cargo) for a ISPS port facility audit.

In the farewell dinner, Mr. Mumu thanked head of Maritime Security Division, Mr. Mathew Wowoni for taking up the role in facilitating the program and the Solomon Islands Government for having the confidence in PNG especially in this Bilateral Technical Assistance Program.

Mr. Wowoni told the audience that the highlight of the program was in order to have a robust maritime security regime in any one country, it is vital that domestic Maritime Security Legislation must be strengthen by recognizing ISPS Code or simply adopt the Code which then adds weight to the implementation of security measures at respective port facilities and vessels.

Mr. Benny Legua in his farewell speech thanked PNG Government for such initiative and frankly said that both ports in the Solomon Island have not gained IMO recognition and it was timely that PNG Department of Transport stepped in to aid assistance.