Cabinet has approved the Exchange of Notes with the Government of Japan for grant aid of $1.6 million to support the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) in procuring oil spill equipment.
In a statement, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said oil spill equipment play a critical role in mitigating the environmental and economic impact of oil spills in marine and coastal regions.
Rabuka said when oil is accidentally released into water bodies, an effective response is essential to contain, recover, and minimise the spread of the oil.
He said MSAF is the maritime regulatory body in Fiji and is responsible for developing and implementing regulations and guidelines related to oil spill prevention, preparedness, response, and cooperation.
“MSAF’s use of oil spill equipment exemplifies its commitment to safeguarding Fiji’s marine environment and coastal communities from the potential devastating effects of oil spills.”
“MSAF has been conducting oil spill removal with the assistance of donated equipment from New Zealand, with the most recent oil spill removal operation in February 2023.”
“With equipment procurement through the grant aid, MSAF will be able to swiftly and effectively respond using containment booms, skimmers, sorbents, and other specialised equipment that are essential to prevent further environmental damage and economic losses in the event of oil spills,” Rabuka said.
The grant aid is provided under Japan’s Economic Social Development Programme (ESDP) which is a comprehensive and strategic initiative aimed at fostering sustainable economic growth, social progress, and overall development both domestically and internationally.
The Government of Japan has been assisting the Government of Fiji since 2016 through the ESDP Project.
Recipients of the grant aids from 2016 include the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, Office of the Prime Minister, Fiji Police Force, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways.