IMO to Support Pacific Island Nations with New Fiji Office

Aerial view of an Fijian island
Updated Published

On 18 March at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London, a significant agreement was sealed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Arsenio Dominguez, the secretary-general of IMO, and Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Fiji’s minister for Public Works, Meteorological Services, and Transport. This MoU marks the establishment of a new IMO office in Fiji.

The new Regional Presence Office will cater to the maritime needs of Pacific Island countries by aligning IMO initiatives with national and regional development strategies. It will provide expert guidance on key maritime issues, including training, safety, security, legislation, and environmental protection, as outlined in the statement.

The office is also set to enhance field-level participation in executing the IMO's technical cooperation framework.

Speaking for Fiji, Ro Filipe Tuisawau expressed, “The IMO Pacific Regional Presence Office provides an opportunity to address critical issues, including the challenge of providing an efficient inter-island shipping service, to ensure the safety of our Pacific people in inter-island shipping."

He also noted, “As host of this regional office, Pacific Member States will be assisted in addressing global standards for ships, and compliance issues related to energy efficiency, safety equipment and maintenance of safety systems according to IMO standards.”

The establishment of this office also underscores the Pacific Islands' call for more maritime opportunities, particularly for young people, by promoting seafarer certification and broader job opportunities.

Secretary-General Dominguez remarked, “I welcome this opportunity to enhance the global presence of the IMO as well as our ability to work in step with the Pacific region and Member States. In addition to Fiji as host country, I would like to thank the Governments of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands for their generous financial and in-kind support which has helped make this collaboration a reality.”

The upcoming IMO office, to be located in Suva, the capital of Fiji, will be the organization’s seventh Regional Presence Office. This office will operate under the guidance of a Regional Coordinator and joins existing offices in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (Francophone); Accra, Ghana (Anglophone); Nairobi, Kenya; Manila, the Philippines; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Alexandria, Egypt.

The Pacific Islands region encompasses 14 IMO Member States, including Australia and New Zealand. Of these, twelve are classified as small island developing States (SIDS), and three as least developed countries (LDCs).