Minister proposes boat license cancellation

January 8, 2024 6:51 am

[ File Photo]

Transport Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau has expressed deep concerns over recent incidents involving the capsizing of fibre and small boats leading to tragic loss.

He highlights that numerous boats were discovered to be non-compliant with registration requirements and lacked essential safety equipment like life jackets.

Emphasizing the seriousness of the situation, Ro Filipe states that the Ministry is considering a last-resort measure and that is to revoke boat licenses to prioritize public safety.

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Expressing deep concern over recent incidents involving the capsizing of fibre and small boats leading to tragic loss of life, the Minister underlined the preventable nature of many of these accidents.

He notes the widespread issue of non-compliance with safety regulations specifically the failure to use life jackets.

Ro Filipe says that the non-wearing of life jackets is common even though boats often have them and this is a poor attitude prevalent nationwide which must change.

He states that the onus is on boat operators while MSAF needs to come down hard on compliance.

The Minister adds that the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji is working closely with its resources and with the Police, Navy and Ministry of iTaukei Affairs on this issue.

In addition to that, Ro Filipe says that there were mechanical issues with at least three passenger boats which could have resulted in serious safety issues for the passengers.

He says that these boats have been passed for operations but boat operators must ensure on-going checks and maintenance.

With the recent incident involving a boat hitting a reef, Ro Filipe says these incidents are unacceptable and he has warned MSAF and boat operators to do what they need to do in terms of checks and preventative measures.