UNITED NATIONS: The Marshall Islands, one of the world’s major shipping nations, has acceded to five important International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions that aim to discourage environmental pollution and promote safety on the high seas, the United Nations agency announced today. The Pacific island nation has acceded to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships 2001 (known as the AFS Convention) and to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001 (Bunkers Convention). The Marshall Islands has also acceded to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (1996 London Convention Protocol). In addition, the Marshall Islands is now a party to the Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1998 (2005 SUA Convention) and the Protocol of 2005 for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (2005 SUA Protocol).
PALAU: The National Olympic Committees from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Guam, the Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru voted 6-3 for Palau. The Micro Games is a 10-day event and there will be 13 sports or games that will be played. Archery , spear fishing and canoe will be included. There are 10 countries that will participate in the 2010 Micronesian Games and they are Guam, Saipan, Nauru, Kiribati, Yap, Kosrea, Phonpei, Chuuk, Marchall Island and Palau. Palau last hosted the Micronesian Games in 1998. The 2006 event was held in Saipan. Palau competed in hosting the event after the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee rejected it because of lack of sport facilities.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: The 10th Annual Conference of the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) was hosted in the Marshall Islands from 28 April to 02 May 2008. The Hon Minister Amenta Matthew, Acting Minister of Finance, on behalf of His Excellency President Litokwa Tomeing, formally opened the Conference and welcomed delegates and observers to the Marshall Islands. The Minister noted the importance of Customs in the region and that the Customs role extended wider than revenue collection into other equally important roles of community protection and border security. She also noted the theme of the conference and believed that much progress takes place when working cooperatively towards a common purpose. The Minister commended the work of the WCO, working cooperatively with the OCO, in recognising the value to enhance capacity in especially small administrations in the region. Mr Casten Nemra, Chief Secretary of the Marshall Islands Government chaired the Conference. The outgoing Chair, Daniel Rofeta, the Comptroller of Solomon Islands Customs and Excise Division informed delegates that the relationship developed by the OCO with the WCO and that organisation's Regional Office of Capacity Building was already bearing fruit for all members of the OCO and not just those who are members of the WCO in their own right. The conference noted the WCO workshops held in the region and their importance to Customs modernisation and reform.
POHNPEI: Asia Pacific Airlines will attempt to move its disabled Boeing-727 from the vicinity of the Pohnpei runway on Monday, according to an airline official. On Friday evening in wet conditions, the APA cargo flight ran off the short, 6,000-foot runway in the Federated States of Micronesia capital, and ended up partially in the water that surrounds the single airstrip. “The aircraft departed the right side of the runway several hundred feet from the end of runway 9 and came to rest with the nose wheel in the water,” APA head Mike Quinn said Sunday. “The nose landing gear is damaged.” APA provides mail delivery to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands on contract to the U.S. Postal Service, and also transports large volumes of yellowfin tuna from these western Pacific islands to sashimi markets in Japan and Hawaii.
EARTHRACE: The skipper of the New Zealand bio-fuelled powerboat Earthrace says the next two legs of their world record attempt will be crucial. The boat is currently en route to Hawaii and is two stops away from its midway point at the Marshall Islands.The crew is still ahead in the second attempt to beat the 10-year-old speed record of 74 days.
PIDB: The Pacific Islands Development Bank named new officers at its recent annual meeting in Palau and is pushing to get the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and American Samoa to join the regional lending institution, according to the Saipan Tribune. The Marshall Islands, represented at the meeting by Finance Minister Jack Ading who attended as an observer, was officially invited by the board to join the PIDB as a member. Membership in the bank requires an investment of $1 million. This was the first time RMI had participated in a PIDB board meeting and there was high hope that it will finally join the bank, the Tribune reported. In addition to the Marshall Islands, Palik said the bank is hoping to gain the membership of American Samoa and Kiribati.