Home grown company Pacific Towing (PacTow), is not only the marine services market leader in Papua New Guinea but also broader Melanesia. For nearly 50 years PacTow has been contributing to the shipping industry, trade, the communities in which it operates, environmental protection, and PNG’s economy. None of PacTow’s contributions would be possible without its highly skilled and dedicated team of 200+ maritime professionals.
PacTow seafarers – almost half of the company’s workforce – are amongst the most experienced and well trained in PNG. Many of their Masters and Senior Engineers have trained and worked internationally, as well as in PNG. “No one understands PNG’s waterways like a PacTow seafarer” emphasises Marine Operations Manager, Gerard Kasnari.
Kasnari says that the company not only enjoys the benefits of having a talented seafaring team but also the privilege of growing PNG’s next generation of seafarers. “We have two cadetship programmes” explains Kasnari. “Our internal programme which to date has mainly trained young PNG men, as well as our partnership programme with the Australian Government, Consort Express Lines, and Swire Shipping – the ‘Women in Maritime’ programme.” Together, these two programmes make an important contribution to PNG’s maritime sector which is experiencing a shortage of suitably qualified and experienced personnel.
Ninety-eight percent of PacTow’s employees (including its seafarers and managers) are PNG Nationals. “We are a PNG business with a strict Workplace Nationalisation Policy” emphasises Kasnari. “It is only right that as a PNG business we give first priority to the men and women of PNG.” More than half of PacTow employees have been with the company for 10+ years.
The jobs PacTow staff have are many and varied because it is a large organisation spread out over the country’s main ports (as well as in Solomon Islands) and it offers numerous services on top of its core business of harbour towage.
PacTow harbour towage services enable ships from all over the world to bring essential freight (e.g., food, medicine, machinery, building materials) into PNG, as well as to take our exports to overseas markets. Towage is also at the core of PacTow’s salvage work, both in PNG and internationally.
Melanesia’s only full member of the International Salvage Union (ISU), PacTow has gone to the rescue of nearly 70 vessels in the last 25 years. Significantly, the company has helped save hundreds of lives all over the country when its tugs have detoured from scheduled projects to assist vessels – often banana boats and cargo ships.
In addition to the lifesaving contributions PacTow makes, it also makes important contributions to the environment. (NB The theme for this year’s International Day of the Seafarer is the contribution seafarers make to protecting the marine environment.) PacTow’s emergency response and pollution prevention services minimise pollution resulting from incidents like vessels breaking up on reefs and oil spilling or escaping during tankers being loaded, or ships refuelling.
As well as providing services to look after the environment, PacTow is also contributing to PNG’s capacity to cope with major marine polluting incidents. PacTow is working closely with the National Maritime Safety Authority and the PNG Port Authority on the country’s spill response capabilities. To date, and under the leadership of the NMSA, PacTow played a significant role in the National Oil Spill Response Exercise last November and earlier this year helped review the Oil Spill Response National Plan.
PacTow understands that marine environmental protection is especially important in PNG. “Many coastal people in particular rely on clean and healthy oceans and rivers for their food and their livelihood” emphasises Kasnari. “As a nation of 600 islands, many of our people also have significant cultural and traditional practices like Hiri Moale linked to the ocean, and this is just another reason why it’s so important for a PNG maritime business like PacTow to help look after it.”
Like any country, but especially a country of so many islands, PNG is heavily dependent on seaborne trade (both domestic and international). PacTow’s core business of harbour towage has been facilitating this trade for nearly 50 years. In combination with its many other marine services, the company is making a significant contribution not just to PNG but international trade. Central to this contribution are the seafarers – both men and women – who work on PacTow’s 20-vessel fleet.
PacTow delivers excellent, reliable, and safe marine services through PNG and the broader Pacific. A well-maintained fleet, as well as a dedicated and exceptionally trained team underpin PacTow’s ongoing expansion and success. PacTow is part of a larger sea and land logistics group wholly owned by Steamships Limited. To learn more about PacTow: www.pacifictowingmarineservices.com.