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Fiji Time: 12:51 PM on Friday 25 April

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Fishermen safe

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, November 19, 2012

FOUR Lautoka fishermen who were reported missing last week were successfully located and rescued on Friday.

This was confirmed by police media liaison officer West Naina Ragigia yesterday.

"It was fortunate that the four were able to keep in touch with us via mobile phone and informed us of their approximate position," she said.

"A local fisherman, identified by the drifters as being very familiar with the particular area, was sent out to rescue the four.

"They were taken to the Lautoka Hospital for a mandatory check before being cleared and sent home," she said.

Ms Ragigia said the fishermen had encountered engine problems while fishing in waters off Viwa in the Yasawa Group.

"They had drifted close to the border between Fiji and the Solomon Islands and after they began taking water, made a decision to abandon ship after constructing a makeshift raft.

"They were fortunate that through mobile phone contact we managed to get them rescued," she said.

Ms Ragigia said the enforcement of new marine and fisheries legislation next year would go a long way towards reducing boating incidents like this from occurring.

"A total of 30 officers graduated from a maritime safety enforcement and compliance course that was facilitated by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji last week.

"These officers will be conducting inspections of all vessels operating in the country regardless of size or purpose.

"Beginning January 1 2013, all boat captains will have to be licensed and all vessels must have the appropriate safety equipment and fishing licences.

"We believe this will go a long way to making our shipping services safer," she said.