Seafarers, boat masters and members of the public have been urged to take boat safety seriously by ensuring their boats meet the required standard by having it surveyed and inspected regularly.
This was the message by the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya while opening the new Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) Office in Pacific Harbour.
“This office will be serving our locals living along the coastal areas of Pacific Harbour and I am strongly advocating on safety, the need to follow and adhere to safety rules that are in place,” he said. “Statistics from the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre (FMRSCC) managed by the Republic of Fiji Navy, recorded a total of 64 search and rescue operations last year alone. Of this figure, five cases were from this area.”
“From the cases reported, FMSRCC spent approximately ninety thousand dollars on these operations. 165 persons were rescued, 52 were self-rescue and 11 have been declared missing at sea.”
Minister Koya adds that with Pacific Harbour being the tourism hub of the Central Division and surrounded by a vast ocean and other water sources, it is equally important for every boat owner, master or ship operator to take safety seriously because accidents can occur within a split second.