UNDERWATER board meetings, cocktails, birthdays and weddings will be among activities provided by Fiji's first submarine-lookalike vessel when it is launched in the months ahead.
SeaView, a vessel that looks and operates almost like a submarine, is 10 times the size of any of its kind and will be fully air-conditioned and more spacious when its launched on April 6.
Alana Tilly Sales and Marketing director for The Melanesian Trading Company Ltd — the umbrella company for SeaView, said the Fiji-made marine vessel, worth $1.5 million, will need $500,000-worth of imported lead to sink it.
"There is nothing like this is the world," she said.
A first of its kind for Fiji and the world, the seaquarium, will have board meetings and conference facilities to cater for up to 52 people.
Such facilities she said would include a 65 inch LED screen for projection or presentations, full surround sound audio with microphone, washroom amenities, tea and coffee, and catering to go with it if required.
Ms Tilly said the SeaView would have DJ compatible facilities and other features such as full surround sound audio with microphone, bar and catering on request, for a maximum of 66 people for events like private and work functions.
The SeaView, owned, designed and operated by South Sea Subs, will have sitting capacity for 34 passengers or 66 standing.
A three-hour sunset cruise will also be among activities provided by SeaView, where passengers can view the beautiful sunset in the Mamanuca island group, complete with beverages and snacks.
"Sunset can be watched from the roof of the seaquarium and then descend into the vessel to view the 28 underwater LED light arrays lighting the reef," Ms Tilly said.
Transfer boats will cart passengers to and from the vessel, she said.
"The transfer boats will pick up guests from Denarau for the 30 minutes transfer. They arrive at the seaquarium for their tour and on completion of the tour return to Denarau," Ms Tilly said.
The touchscreen feature beneath the interior window will allow guests to access interactive information about the reef and marine life.
"We will also have child-friendly games and information for the younger guests," Ms Tilly said.
The vessel will have tapa designs for its interior and exterior walls, she said.
In an earlier interview with The Fiji Times, SeaView owner Rob Moigg said the construction of the SeaView at Wailoaloa in Nadi made Fiji a serious contender in the shipbuilding business. He said the world would be forced to reckon with what Fiji is accomplishing through the 100 per cent Fiji-made underwater viewing vessel.
"I believe this vessel will make a lot of people sit up and take note of what we are achieving here at South Seas Sub," Mr Moigg said. Construction of the vessel began later last year. The SeaView will be one of the world's underwater experience must-do and an international attraction with world class experience.
"Our intentions are to operate this and another just like her to offer a new approach to undersea viewing with the emphasis being on comfort," Mr Moigg said.
He said the Seaview would remain submerged at 2.3 metres with the top deck and conning tower on the surface at all times.
"She is fully compliant and has been designed over and above all regulations," Mr Moigg said. To complete the world class adventure, the SeaView will have underwater LED light arrays to light up the reef and undersea in a way never seen before.
Mr Moigg said 12 Fijians were employed in the build phase, with 12 to 15 Fijians to be employed full-time when the vessel is ready. A two-hour tour will cost $139 for adults and $79 for children.