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Shortage of qualified ship crew members an issue

October 1, 2018 5:37 pm

The shortage of qualified ship crew in the country is affecting the operation of one of Fiji’s largest marine employers – Goundar Shipping Limited, which presently doesn’t have enough crew to operate its entire fleet at sea.

Marking the company’s seventh anniversary in Suva yesterday, Owner and Director George Goundar says they’re now looking at recruiting sailors from abroad.

He says Goundar shipping has approximately two hundred crew members for five vessels servicing Fiji waters and since up to sixty people are needed to maintain one ship, more is needed.

Goundar adds one of their vessels has to remain in port because of the crew shortage. .

”We have obviously tied up ship number 3 as we don’t have any crew to sail that vessel. That’s the problem – we’re facing now in Fiji, so unfortunately i hate to say that we’re looking at overseas crew now. I have no choice but to look at overseas crew.”

Goundar says shipping companies should look at ways to maintain their crew members.

" We’re losing our seafarers to overseas, so there’s got to be a trade-off. There’s got to be a trade-off like Philippines or any other country to come in to take the void. And the thing is we got to be very careful that we don’t away employment from our locals."

Goundar shipping has invested over twenty-million dollars in its fleet of five vessels including its properties and has provided employment to over two hundred Fijians.