TWO months after commissioning a $4.8million landing craft, Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday commissioned the second landing craft MLC Vunilagi worth $2.4m.
The first landing craft - MLC Sigavou - that was commissioned in March this year was the first ship acquired by the government after more than 29 years, something the Prime Minister referred to as a national embarrassment for a maritime nation like Fiji.
Unlike its 47metre and 149 tonne sister landing craft - MLC Sigavou - that can carry 20 passengers and cargo, the MLC Vunilagi is 45.5metres and carries 30 passengers and cargo.
The MLC Vunilagi covered 5000 nautical miles over 23 days by Captain Pauliasi Vakaloloma from Malaysia to Fiji, and was also in charge of successfully bringing home the MLC Sigavou in February this year.
Rear Admiral Bainimarama said the new landing craft would be used by ordinary people who were the backbone of the country.
"We are bridging the gap between those who live in Lau or Lautoka, Rotuma or Rakiraki," Rear Admiral Bainimarama said.
"It is a cornerstone of my government's philosophy that all Fijians are equal.
"And we will not rest until a child growing up in the remotest part of the country is no longer disadvantaged by that distance or isolation."