Fiji Time: 4:14 PM on Wednesday 25 November

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Operation to clear harbour

Mere Naleba
Thursday, April 10, 2014

FIJI Ports Corporation Limited is ready to embark on a costly journey to remove 25 vessels submerged in the Suva Harbour.

Normally, removing a fishing vessel costs the authority $25,000, but at times this figure can increase because the cost of removing a sunken ship depends on the size of the vessel.

Fiji Ports CEO Vajira Piyasena confirmed the cost of removing a submerged vessel also heavily depends on the condition, location and state of the vessel.

This means the team conducting the much-awaited removal of the wrecks would have to make a check list of whether the 25 vessels are fully submerged or partially submerged.

Mr Piyasena said the team of experts that would carry out the work were already in the country and would start work soon.

"The representatives of the overseas company undertaking the removal are already here and we are working on relevant administrative procedures and the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) relating to the removal," he said.

He said the task was a complex one "due to environmental issues such as oil spillages from these rusted vessels".

Suva Harbour Foundation founder Bob Gillett had expressed concern about the number of vessels submerged in the harbour.

Mr Gillett said much could be done to stop abandoned ships from sinking. He said there was no need to wait and watch an abandoned ship sink slowly and then pay to try and salvage the derelict vessel.

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