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Fiji Time: 3:38 PM on Thursday 18 September

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Lighthouse construction to start

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, March 30, 2013

THE Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji will build eight lighthouses in Fiji waters this year as part of efforts to make sea travel in Fiji waters safer.

And this is sure to please vessel owners in Fiji who complained about having to pay lighthouse and beacon fees despite there being very few functional in Fiji waters.

Authority CEO Neale Slack said the lighthouses, including two that were to be constructed in Koro last year, would cost a couple of million dollars.

"We have six lighthouses to be constructed this year, we have the designs for those, we're drawing down the funding for those," he said.

"The high probability is that all of the six lighthouses scheduled for this year are going to be constructed by April, May, June this year.

"So, the criticism of saying that we're not doing anything or we need to do more, these plans should give a clear indication there's six serious lighthouses being constructed and there's two more carried over from last year for Koro and Wailagilala."

Mr Slack, who in January was criticised by vessel owners for the non-functioning lighthouses, said there was a need to understand the costs involved.

"What's very important to note is that what light dues vessel owners pay is insignificant in comparison to the cost of construction, operation and maintenance of the lighthouses."

Mr Slack said this point was stressed to stakeholders at recent consultations with some suggesting an increase in the levy to better maintain the maritime aid.


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