Tuvalu News

US$2 Million Plus Upgrade for Tuvalu Maritime Institute

Manila (PINA Nius Online, 19 October 2002) - The Asian Development Bank has approved a more than US$2 million assistance package to upgrade a maritime institute of vital importance to Tuvalu's economy.

The package comprises a loan equivalent to US$1.85 million and a technical assistance grant of US$291,000. It will enable the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute to meet International Maritime Organization training standards.

Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute is on its own islet northwest of the capital island of Funafuti. It trains young Tuvaluan sailors so that they can work abroad on foreign vessels.

Tuvalu sailors are renowned for their strength, stamina, and friendly nature.

Annual remittances sent home from Tuvalu seafarers amount to A$5 million- A$8 million. This is a significant sum set against the country's gross domestic product of A$18 million.

But Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute lacks the facilities to meet all International Maritime Organization standards.

Failure to remain on the International Maritime Organization "White List" would jeopardize the work prospects of the 1000 graduates registered as working seafarers. It would close the pipeline for upcoming trainees.

Says Robert Siy, Director, Asian Development Bank Pacific Operations Division:

"The project will ensure that TMTI continues to provide basic training and specialized refresher and upgrading training to meet IMO requirements.

"The loan project will target physical improvements and training equipment, while the TA grant will offer institutional support."

Facilities to be built or upgraded under the project include:

a wharf extension and safety-at-sea training equipment,

fire fighting equipment,

water catchment and storage facilities,

new and renovated staff housing and better trainee quarters,

and specialist training and operational equipment.

The technical assistance will improve teaching resources and develop new curricula, boosting employment prospects for graduates.

The loan will be from the bank's concessionary Asian Development Fund.

It will have a maturity of 32 years, including a grace period of eight years, and an interest charge of 1% per year during the grace period and 1.5% subsequently.

The technical assistance will be from the Japan Special Fund, funded by the Government of Japan.

Executing agency for the project, due for completion by end-February 2005, is Tuvalu's Ministry of Education and Sports.

News Headlines

Tuvalu Online Home