The Ministry of Transport through the Maritime Safety Authority is intensifying efforts to address issues such as the operation of non-registered fiberglass boats, overloading, and the presence of illegal boat operators.
The initiative comes in the wake of a tragic incident on Tuvuca Island in the Lau group last Friday, prompting Minister of Transport Ro Filipe Tuisawau to shed light on the urgent actions being taken.
Tuisawau reveals to FBCNews that the MSAF is actively working to combat the unsafe practices that have been noted in various maritime islands across the country.
Among the key issues identified are the operation of non-registered fibreglass boats, instances of overloading, and the illegal operation of boats – all of which contribute to heightened risks and tragic incidents at sea.
To address these concerns, Tuisawau has directed the MSAF to ensure continuous monitoring and enforcement of safety regulations.
This proactive measure is aimed at curbing unsafe practices and fostering a culture of compliance among maritime islanders.
“I have directed the Maritime Safety Authority to monitor this. This is something we need to look into. I am also pleading with Maritimes islanders to comply with the simple MSAF instructions, these tragic incidents could have been avoided if we followed the simple instructions.”
To enforce compliance with maritime laws, Tuisawau warns that hefty fines will be imposed on boat operators who fail to adhere to MSAF’s regulations.
The focus is on preventing further tragic loss of lives at sea by ensuring strict adherence to safety guidelines.
Two recent maritime mishaps late last year underscore the urgency of addressing these safety concerns.
One incident involved a boat carrying nine individuals from Yasawa that capsized on its journey to Lautoka, resulting in the drowning of two women aged 47 and 67.
Another tragic incident occurred at the Rewa River, where a four-year-old girl lost her life.
The MSAF’s proactive stance, coupled with Tuisawau’s call for compliance, reflects a commitment to safeguarding lives and promoting maritime safety in Fiji.
By addressing the root causes of these incidents and enforcing regulations, authorities aim to create a safer environment for maritime activities and prevent further tragic losses at sea.