Life Cell Saving Lives in the Pacific
Life Cell Marine Safety embarks on Papua New Guinea pilot program
Life Cell Marine Safety has partnered with the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to reduce the number of lives lost at sea in the Pacific. In PNG, it’s estimated up to 1,000 people lose their lives each year, as a result of drowning-related deaths. This startling statistic led Life Cell Marine Safety to develop a bespoke, fit for purpose Life Cell that can reduce fatalities in the country.
As the body responsible for regulating PNG’s maritime safety standards, NMSA’s use of the Life Cell will assist in implementing the Small Craft Act. The Act is a safety-oriented approach to improving the safety of the community water transport, reducing occurrences of marine incidents, and encouraging small craft registration and the use of essential equipment such as Life Cells.
Following consultation with residents and local authorities, Life Cell a new model, which can assist 14 people in the water. With functionality in mind, the Life Cell is designed to sit on the bottom of the “banana boats” and act as a seat for occupants. The PNG model also has a storage area comprising of a large compartment to store fish and a smaller one for keeping basic marine safety equipment, phones and other personal items dry.
Chief Executive Officer of Life Cell Marine Safety, Jenny Aiken, says the Life Cell couple prove to be a gamechanger in reducing the number of deaths at sea in PNG. “The multi-purpose model was designed to be functional, increasing the likelihood the device will remain in vessels and be used in emergency situations. With boats being the primary mode of transport in coastal and island areas of Papua New Guinea, and many communities relying on fishing to feed their families, any safety device needs to be simple and it needs to save lives”.
Working with NMSA’s Manager of Safety, Search & Rescue Peter Bell, Life Cell Marine Safety will provide 450 units of the specially designed model to assess the uptake by local boat owners and ongoing use of the device.
The Life Cell is part of a pilot program supported by the Australian Government through the Papua New Guinea – Australi Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP). If successful, Life Cel Marine Safety aims to work with NMSA to expand the rollout to all vessels in PNG through the Provincial Small Registry Boards, potentially saving thousands of lives.
The World Health Organisation estimates there are over 270,000 recorded drowning deaths each year. Life Cell is proud to be working in partnership with NMSA and Australian Government to play their part in reducing the number of lives lost at sea.