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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Taroaniara Shipyard re-launched life rafting service facility
February 8, 2010

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Anglican Church of Melanesia on Friday last week re-launched its Life Raft Service Centre at Taroaniara Shipyard on Gela in the Central Province.

Taroaniara used to provide life rafting services to provide for its many mission vessels as well as other government and private vessels until the 80’s when it had to scale down its operations and completely done away with the service.

Since then a few companies provided the service in the country. But after so many years the Church felt not only does it needs to revive that service but to provide efficient and affordable service.

Hundreds gathered to witness the launching ceremony attended Anglican Church workers at the provincial headquarters, representative from the Marine Division of the Solomon Islands government, local Ship Owners Association represenative, Alex Bodiam of the Vanuatu based Bodiam Engineering and International Maritime Organisation and representatives from the Tulagi Marine Office.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia The Most Rev. David Vunagi was the guest of honour at the launching programme.

Here is his Kenote Address;
“The Management and staff of Taroaniara Ship-Yard, the General Secretary and Staff of the ACOM Provincial Headquarter, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is with a sense of honour and gratitude that Mary and I and Flo, our friend from Canada, have been invited to be with you here today to participate in the dedication and opening of this Life Raft Centre in Taroaniara.

On December 5-6, 2009 we gathered here for two reasons:
1.) To spend time together to think about ways of revisiting the original aim of the place.
2.) To dedicate the cross in memory of Late Dr. Charles Elliot Fox.

During that time we were moved by the history of this place so we expressed sentiments to find means and ways to revisit the original aims of this place and to support its development in general.
We know that before 1970 this place was an oasis in the Church of Melanesia where young apprentices came to receive training in different trade skills. And after their training here, they went to the government and to the private sector and used their different trades to serve this nation.

However, in the 1970s as part of strategic re-structuring of the institutions in the Church of Melanesia, in preparation for independence from the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Pawa and Pamua were amalgamated and moved to Najilagu, Siota moved to Kohimara, West Guadalcanal; and the Provincial Press moved from Taroaniara to Honiara. And it was during that time that the apprentice and trade skill training component of Taroaniara was closed down. Only the Shipyard was allowed to continue its operation to maintain our shipping fleet. But years later, the rest of the shipping fleet was sold except the Southern Cross.

I think you would agree with me that the education system today in this country has a very weak vocational and technological component. In view of that, it was regrettable that the leaders of the Church of Melanesia made the decision to do away with the apprentice and trade skill trainings here in Taroaniara about forty years ago.

We know there is discrepancy in the education system in this nation. Our education system tends to concentrate on the Formal System and less emphasis is put on the Non- Formal System. That in my view leads to an imbalance on the availability oftrained human resources in the country. There are more people coming out from the formal System than what the nation can absorb in its employment network so most of our young people are going through a process of systematic disorientation.

In other words the employment opportunity for those who come out of the formal system is already saturated so unless the economic prospects of this nation can create more jobs, we are only creating an illusion of hope for our students who go through the formal system.

In that regard, the Church of Melanesia as a stakeholder in the provision of education in this country needs to look at the development of her Vocational Training Centres. They need to be properly equipped and adequately staffed by qualified people as used to be in here in Taroaniara during the missionary days. That is the Non-Formal System must be strengthened to a level that it can provide trainings that our young people need to give them the skills they need for life. In that regard, there is no harm in ACOM revisiting the original aim of Taroaniara to provide better alternatives in apprentice and trade skill training for our young people.

That leads me to say why we are here today. We are here to witness the dedication of this Life-Raft Centre. In view of that, I would like to take this opportunity to tell those who involve in the shipping industry in this nation that Taroaniara Ship-Yard is now providing an additional service to your shipping needs. Taroaniara is now the one-stop service for maintenance of your ships and Life-rafts.

On that note I now declare this Life-Raft Centre open.”