Based on the growing number of derelict vessels around the country, a local company is interested in turning them into steel; however, the process is slow.
Dayal Steels Limited Managing Director Jay Dayal says his company is hoping for assistance from the government in issuing notices to ship owners for the work to be done.
Dayal says there has been no progress so far because of the regulatory requirements and other challenges, including contacting the owners.
“There are some Chinese vessels whose owners are not contactable, and for some vessels, the ports are still trying to locate their owner or who the owner is. If the government can move ahead and issue them notices if they do not remove their vessels on time, then they will actually reprocess them, or they will seize the vessels and hand them over to any company to remove them. Of course, that will help us, but right now the process is quite slow.”
Dayal acknowledges that the dismantling process will need to be environmentally friendly, which requires a thorough assessment.
“I understand that it also requires quite a bit of approval and technical expertise to remove those vessels. Once those are done, we can take all the vessels and use them to make steel in Fiji for our own Fiji-made steel.”
The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji has clearly indicated that it’s a breach of environmental laws to have derelict vessels in our waters and ports.
There are a good number of derelict and abandoned vessels, including yachts in Savusavu, two bauxite vessels in Navakasiga, Bua, and the majority are at Draunibota Bay in Lami.