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Fiji Time: 6:43 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Big bill for navy

Nasik Swami
Monday, December 30, 2013

AGEING ships are becoming a major concern for the Fiji Navy.

Maintaining the ships for their various missions is chewing up to $2million annually from the coffers of the maritime security arm of the country.

Fiji Navy Commander John Fox said maintenance of the five patrol ships was a major challenge in 2014.

"For us, this year was mostly our maintenance issues. Age is catching up on them (ships) and sorting maintenance issues is a major challenge," Cdr Fox said.

He said the ships being used have had extended lives of about 10 to 15 years at sea.

"Usually, when it comes to this age, in our budget we have gone for life extensions for our ships."

Cdr Fox said while some repairs had been sorted out, he was optimistic their targets would be met next year.

"We have sorted out our repairs this year so next year our targets will be more approachable."

He said while the navy acted as the "fins of the maritime waterways", they had no plans of recruiting more officers.

"We don't have staffing problems.

"We've got people retiring and as they retire we will get in one or two. There will be no major recruitments."

Cdr Fox said they hoped to improve on their service delivery next year.