In response to a surge in incidents involving vessels servicing maritime islands, Transport Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau has issued a directive for the Maritime Safety Authority to intensify monitoring efforts.
The move comes after a series of incidents raised concerns about the safety and conditions of vessels transporting passengers to and from maritime islands.
Ro Filipe emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety and quality of maritime transportation, especially given that passengers pay for these essential services.
“I have told MSAF to monitor this, and if they know that the services are poor, don’t let the vessel provide the services. This should not be the case because maritime islanders deserve better vessel services.
The directive aims to prevent vessels with deteriorating conditions from operating in maritime areas, prioritizing the safety and well-being of passengers.
Ro Filipe stresses that maritime shipping services should upgrade their offerings to provide passengers with value for money.
The urgency of this directive is underscored by recent incidents, including a report of a Goundar Shipping vessel hitting a reef in Vanua Balavu in the Lau Group.
He adds that such incidents not only pose a risk to the lives of passengers but also highlight the need for stringent measures to ensure the seaworthiness and safety standards of maritime vessels.
The Minister’s call for enhanced services aligns with the broader goal of improving transportation infrastructure and safety for those residing on maritime islands.