Investigation reveals negligence in grounding of RFNS Puamau

July 10, 2024 12:45 pm

Republic of Fiji Military Forces Navy Ship RFNS Puamau [File Photo]

Significant breaches, negligence, and non-adherence to professional navigation practices led to the grounding of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Navy Ship RFNS Puamau at Fulaga Reef in the Lau group last month.

RFMF Commander Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai says this is the conclusion from an investigation conducted by the Board of Inquiry.

The BOI’s thorough examination of the incident revealed critical deficiencies in procedures and standards within the Fiji Navy’s maritime operations, specifically in the navigation practices aboard the ship.

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Republic of Fiji Military Forces Navy Ship RFNS Puama [File Photo]

The investigation found that the Commanding Officer and his command team failed to comply with accepted best bridge management practices.

This non-compliance was particularly evident in the application of safety measures under the challenging environmental conditions near Fulaga Island.

Furthermore, the BOI highlighted that certain essential mariner practices and processes related to the use of navigation equipment for situational awareness and decision-making were neglected by the Commanding Officer and his bridge team.

Major-General Kalouniway says the report says that these oversights contributed significantly to the grounding incident.

In response to the findings, the BOI has recommended several measures to address the identified deficiencies and enhance safety in future maritime operations.

These measures include holding the Commanding Officer accountable for the ship’s grounding and ensuring comprehensive patrol briefings and navigational planning.

Additionally, the implementation of clear Standard Operating Procedures for ship safety, the provision of Navigation Books to all seaman officers, enhancing situational awareness for commanding officers, and a review of bridge procedures during entry into confined waters were recommended.

Major-General Kalouniwai emphasized the RFMF’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and safety within the Fiji Navy.