LINZ is involved in a number of programmes for improving safety in the South Pacific.

Hydrographic risk assessments

We completed hydrographic risk assessments for Vanuatu, Tonga and the Cook Islands in 2012; and Niue, Samoa and Tokelau in 2015 and 2016. These assessments result in maps highlighting shipping hazards so Pacific countries can decide where to prioritise maritime safety improvements. The risk assessment uses an internationally recognised methodology to combine safety of life, cultural, environmental, and economic development factors as well as the age and quality of existing charts. Results are based on shipping routes obtained from satellite tracking of large vessels. Governments in these countries and development partners can then take steps to mitigate risks by improving charts, warnings and aids to mariners in the areas identified as high risk by the assessments. A pilot project in Vanuatu – which has an established cruise industry – showed this work meant strong value for money in foreign aid spending on safety.

Since 2015, we have worked on the Pacific Regional Navigation Initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to improve navigation safety in the Pacific. This initiative included modern hydrographic surveys in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa. Survey locations were identified by the risk assessments and agreed with the countries. In Tonga this has enabled brand new charts to be produced in areas where old fathoms charts existed, with data from the late 1800s.

New navigation charts bring economic and maritime safety benefits to Tonga

Risk assessment results



Cook Islands




Building capacity

LINZ is sharing its expertise to help Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT) improve their maritime safety, by delivering capacity building activities funded by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and Pacific Regional Navigation Initiative. Since 2014, training and workshops have covered hydrographic governance, hydrographic survey and cartography and how to coordinate and issue safety warnings to ensure mariners are aware of hazards at sea.

International Hydographic Organization

Last Updated: 4 November 2021