Naval officers plead guilty

Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga (left) Lieutenant Ben Salacakau and Ensign Mike Brown on their way to the court martial at the Queen Elizberth Barracks in Nabua. Picture: ATU RASEA

FOUR officers of the Fiji Navy involved in the grounding of the Naval Ship (RFNS) Kiro pleaded guilty to the charges they are faced with today at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.
Lieutenant Commander Saula Tuilevuka, Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga, Lieutenant Ben Salacakau and Ensign Mike Brown pleaded guilty to all the charges when it was read to them during the general court martial this morning.
The navy ship RFNS Kiro ran aground at Belcher Reef on July 14, 2016.
According to the particulars of the offence, Lieutenant Commander Saula Tuilevuka neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29A(b) of the Army Act 1955 whilst holding the appointment of Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) prior to being deployed to Black Rock had neglected to submit a report to HQ Navy on the operational sea check that was conducted on RFNS Kiro.
Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29A(b)of the Army Act 1955 whilst holding appointment of commanding officer, failed train the navigation officer, Ensign Brown to be familiar with the ships navigation equipment.
Lieutenant Cikaitoga neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29A(b)of the Army Act 1955 while onboard RFNS Kiro on Thursday July 14, 2016 whilst holding the appointment of commanding officer, he failed to fill his order book as his duty required to so.
And he also neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29A(b)of the Army Act 1955 whilst holding the appointment of commanding officer, he gave approval to the navigator to proceed with the initial plan without paying attention to the requirement of regulation on safety clearance for coastal navigation.
Lieutenant Ben Salacakau neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29A(b)of the Army Act 1955 whilst holding the appointment of executive officer, he failed to ensure that the RFNS Kiro night order book was handed to the commanding officer. This was his duty as the most senior watch keeper prior to briefing the rest of the officer of the watch onboard.
And Ensign Mike Brown neglected to perform a duty contrary to Section 29(A(b) of the Army Act 1955.
Commander Netani Sukanaivalu presided over this case while the prosecution was represented by Captain Aisea Drodrolagi and Captain Aisea Paka.
The case has been adjourned to Thursday to allow the prosecution to file the summary of facts.