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State ships in troubled waters

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, July 19, 2013

GOVERNMENT Shipping Services (GSS) hopes to purchase at least one vessel a year to help it solve the maintenance cost problem of old vessels.

The latest two being put on tender are its oldest vessels — MV Golea and MV Dausoko — both dating back to the 1980s.

GSS director Ilisoni Tuimabualau said the cost of repairing the aging vessels was high compared to the purchase of a new one.

For a new vessel, he said there was no need for maintenance for the first 15 years.

Mr Tuimabualau could not provide a definite cost of maintenance for the ships.

He said this would depend on their size and the repairs required.

Fiji Navy Commander John Fox said the cost of repairing the two ships had caused GSS maintenance problems.

He said the two vessels were not viable for maintenance and related costs were more than the cost of their viable years.

"Basically, the vessels are almost 40 years old and it has come to that age where it is beyond safe.

Cdr Fox said said in order to get to a safe working level, it was cheaper to buy a new ship.

He said if the government purchased a new vessel, it would take 10 to 15 years before they could start on any maintenance work.

However, he said for the old vessels, maintenance was required annually.

The MV Golea is a 26-metre and 360-tonne landing craft while the MV Dausoko is a 30-metre and 300-tonne passenger and cargo vessel.

Last week, the government gazetted the sale of the MV Dausoko.

The vessel is docked at the GSS wharf in Suva and can be inspected upon arrangements with the contact officers.





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