Management & Sustainability - Maritime Industry

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ADDRESSING MARITIME TRANSPORT MISHAPS & DISASTERS IN KIRIBATI Individual Assignment Management & Sustainability Master of Business & Management 2013 Waikato Management School The University of Waikato

Due date: 10 February 2013 Convener: Dr. Ir. Ron. McDowall

by Mr. Benjamin Tokataake Student #: 1201748

Benjamin Tokataake Student ID: 1201748 MBM Programme 2013, UoW

Introduction Under its rather broad portfolio, the Ministry of Communications, Transport & Tourism Development (MCTTD) of Kiribati is also responsible for regulating shipping and other maritime activities through the administration and enforcement of local maritime laws, and related international guidelines on seaworthiness and safety. It provides this function through the Marine Department. MCTTD’s organisational structure consists of the Minister as the political head, followed by the Secretary as the overall administrative head. Next in authority is the Deputy Secretary, immediately followed by line Departmental Heads called Directors. One of these is the Director of Marine Services, one of the writer’s colleagues and whose roles will be discussed in connection with the paper’s subject. Background Kiribati is an archipelago of 33 tiny, low-lying coral atolls in the Central Pacific. Due to the islands’ smallness and, thus, intimacy with the sea, coupled with their dispersion over 3.5 million km2 of ocean, the people of Kiribati have a largely maritime culture. Ocean-going has, up to this day, been a pastime for many, as well as a way of life for all. The people’s diet consists of fish as the main protein and, therefore, fishing is an important subsistence and commercial activity. Unsurprisingly, many Kiribati men are very skilful sailors and fishermen. Most fishermen in the capital island of Tarawa have open wooden boats, driven by an outboard motor engine. In the rural outer-islands, most fishermen stick to the traditional ‘outrigger’ canoe, either driven with oars or a cloth/canvass sail (please see appendix for pictures).

Benjamin Tokataake Student ID: 1201748 MBM Programme 2013, UoW

In terms of social mobility within the country, aviation and shipping services are available but the majority of travellers usually choose shipping, because of the lower fares, and for short trips between ‘immediate neighbour’ islands. From colonial times under Britain (which ended in 1979) to the mid-1990’s, domestic shipping services had solely been provided by Government, through the Kiribati Shipping Services Ltd. (KSSL). The national shipping fleet was then small, never exceeding five vessels at any time. However, since the 1990’s private shipping ventures have started emerging and disrupting KSSL’s monopoly. There are now around 40 vessels in total, 80% of which are small double-hulled, catamaran-type wooden boats (R. Tioon, personal communication, February 8, 2013). Problem Situation Unlike KSSL, which uses conventional, multipurpose (cargo-passenger) vessels, the majority of private shipping operators use locally manufactured catamarans in their business. Generally, the catamarans measure less than 20m long, 5m wide and 4m high. They are meant as passenger-only boats but, disturbingly, they also carry cargo, including drums of fuel, etc. As a result, these boats are easily damaged or capsized in rough seas. Furthermore, the incidence of fishermen missing at sea (drifting) in Kiribati is quite high. Going out in the open sea unprepared for emergencies, fishermen in Kiribati are vulnerable to disasters, if the weather turns ugly or their engines break down. So, every year, Government has to contend with drifting cases from around the country, financing and coordinating search and rescue (SAR) efforts for them. The Marine Department’s annual expenditure on SAR averages AU$300,000-500,000 per year.

Benjamin Tokataake Student ID: 1201748 MBM Programme 2013, UoW

In July of 2009, during the 30th National Independence Anniversary Celebration week, the...
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