Compliance in maritime operations imperative

March 26, 2024 6:44 am

Infrastructure Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau has expressed concerns regarding recent breakdowns in maritime shipping.

He has underlined the necessity for stringent adherence to safety regulations.

Ro Filipe emphasized the imperative for thorough investigations by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) and advocated for rigorous compliance measures before vessels are cleared for operation.

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Recent incidents of ship breakdowns, notably in Savusavu and Kadavu, have prompted comprehensive investigations by the MSAF, according to the Minister. He states that any vessels found to be non-compliant are being withheld until all regulatory issues are addressed.

Ro Filipe also stressed the role of adherence to safety protocols, particularly emphasizing the necessity of strict compliance with maintenance procedures such as dry docking and generator replacements.

“I’m stressing to MSAF and the entities, especially those that have to do with maritime shipping, that the law needs to be applied in terms of compliance. If the ship needs to be dried and docked, it should be dried and docked if it’s in the regulation.”

These measures, Ro Filipe says, are deemed essential to ensuring safe maritime travel, particularly for the inhabitants of Fijian island communities.

Former Infrastructure Minister and Opposition MP Jone Usamate has urged the government to explore avenues for supporting local boat operators in their acquisition of new vessels.

“One of the things that they do is that they purchase old boats because they can’t afford the new ones. One of the reasons behind that was that the license that we have for the franchise was only limited to one year, and so during our term in office, we extended that license period to 15 years, with the idea being that if a company had a license for franchise for 15 years, they might be able to take that to the bank, and then the bank would help them buy a new boat.”

Ro Filipe had also reiterated MSAF’s sustained commitment to addressing safety concerns and enforcing compliance measures.