Samoa opens branch of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific

The Samoan branch of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (M.T.C.C.) Office was officially launched on Tuesday.

The new branch will be located within the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) headquarters at Vailima.

It follows an agreement being signed last year between the Pacific Community’s (S.P.C.) Deputy Director General, Dr. Audrey Aumua, and the Director General of S.P.R.E.P., Leota Kosi Latu.

The M.T.C.C.-Pacific is based in Fiji and has been funded by the European Union and the International Maritime Organisation. It aims to promote low-carbon transport options to help achieve United Nations sustainability targets. 

But the opening of a Samoan branch is recognition by M.T.C.C.-Pacific of the need to closely integrate its activities with the climate change mitigation and resilience work underway across the region.

According to Leota, the branch will provide an M.T.C.C.-Pacific project officer to be recruited and based at the S.P.R.E.P. offices in Samoa. 

The position of the project officer from M.T.C.C.-Pacific will ensure that it has direct access to environmental governance expertise, knowledge that will be essential to the success of its work.

“The launch symbolises a partnership that hopefully will help our country to address the issue of climate change,” Leota said.

M.T.C.C.-Pacific is one of the five centres established worldwide and forms part of the Global M.T.C.C.s Network (G.M.N.), implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (I.M.O.) and funded by the European Union.

S.P.C. hosts M.T.C.C.-Pacific with S.P.R.E.P. as part of a collaborative approach for climate change mitigation in maritime.

Leota said Samoa can benefit if its shipping sector wants to take advantage of the M.T.C.C. by looking at perhaps some assistance in terms of reducing greenhouse gasses from the shipping sector in Samoa.

“If we can help contribute to the fight against climate change then the shipping sector is one area where we can start.”

Dr. Andrew Jones, Director of the Geo-science, Energy and Maritime division within S.P.C., said that having one of their staff based in S.P.R.E.P. hopes to build more staff shared between the organisations in the same way data is shared between them.

“S.P.C. is based in Suva, Fiji but [we will be] having another experienced [staff member] in Samoa learning from that really national perspective here," he said. 

“The role of the branch here is focused on data and making sure that we are collecting the right type of data and managing that data correctly and used to make decisions by ship operators or by government in setting up policy.

“One of the key benefits of having a branch here is the fact that S.P.R.E.P. is a climate and environment focused agency and we are going to learn a lot from their other programmes implemented not just in the environment but also on waste in terms of shipping.”

He added that they hope to make some changes in how much fuel they will save there by saving the ship operators money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

In its first year, the M.T.C.C.-Pacific provided training on shore and ship energy efficient operations to 150 people, including 23 women, in six targeted Pacific islands countries and assisted in energy management development activities for 18 ships and 7 ports. 

As a result of M.T.C.C.-Pacific work in the Pacific, six ships are now implementing a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan. 

The Solomon Islands Port Authority has reported overall energy savings of 8% or 15 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per month following M.T.C.C.-Pacific energy audits and implementation of short-term pilot-projects.

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