Cook Islands maritime industry calls for action to reduce greenhouse emissions

Cook Islands, Rarotonga – The Cook Islands Ministry of Transport, together with national ship operators, port operators and stakeholders have called for greater initiative in energy efficient operations to reduce greenhouse gasses. The call was made at the first National Workshop on Energy Efficient Operations of ships, which was delivered by the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (MTCC-Pacific) from 15-17 April.

The Cook Islands is a small island developing state comprising of 15 small islands with an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of nearly 2 million square km in the South Pacific Ocean. Globally, the Cook Islands contributes to only 0.00012% of GHG emission, which is an insignificant amount relative to the total global emission of 2004 (IPCC Report, 2007). Yet, collectively, the consequences of the global emission via climate change is detrimental to ecosystems, infrastructures, economy, and therefore the livelihood of Cook Islanders.

The three-day workshop provided participants with an understanding of the latest developments at the international level; new technologies, tools and methods available to monitor and reduce fuel oil consumption from the operations of ships in Cook Islands, in order to contribute to national efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and Nationally determined Contributions (NDC).

In his welcome remarks, Cook Islands Director of Maritime, Mr. Ngatokorua Ngatokorua (Jnr) said “Cook Islands is committed to reduce its carbon footprint to achieve its national vision, which is ‘to enjoy the highest quality of life consistent with the aspirations of our people, and in harmony with our culture and environment’. We are also thankful to MTCC-Pacific to conduct this workshop here and provide information to participant on how to mitigate emissions in the maritime sectors which has the potential to provide significant economic benefits.”

MTCC-Pacific’s Maritime Industry Energy Efficiency Adviser reiterated the commitments from MTCC-Pacific, its Host Institutions and its partners to assist the Pacific region for climate mitigation in the maritime industry. “There is a need for the ship operators to adopt the Safe Operations Plan (SOP) integrated with the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), which is essential for safe and efficient sea transportation.”

MTCC-Pacific is one of the five centres established in the world and forms part of the Global MTCC Network (GMN), implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and funded by the European Union. The Pacific Community (SPC) host MTCC-Pacific in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as part of its approach to support sustainable maritime transport in the Pacific with a focus on safety and energy efficiency of domestic shipping.

MTCC-Pacific technical assistance is provided in conjunction with the SPC’s Pacific Islands Domestic Ship Safety (PIDSS) programme that was help in Cook Islands in October 2018 that aims at supporting domestic ship operators implement safety management systems on board their vessels. This constitutes a consistent approach in raising safety and efficiency standards in domestic shipping. Similar national workshops and ships visits will be organised in other Pacific Islands Countries in 2019.