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Derelict vessels

Mere Naleba
Friday, May 09, 2014

THE Fiji Ports Corporation Limited remains tight-lipped on how soon work will begin in removing the 25 derelict vessels from the Suva Harbour.

In an article published by this newspaper on April 10 this year, FPCL's CEO Vajira Piyasena confirmed a team was in the country working with authorities on administrative procedures and the Environmental Management Plan with regards to the removal of those vessels.

Mr Piyasena also confirmed in that same article that 25 vessels had been earmarked for removal — the removal of one vessel estimated to cost $25,000. However, Mr Piyasena failed to clarify how soon the team or FPCL would engage in removing the 25 submerged or partially-submerged vessels from the Suva Harbour.

Questions electronically-mailed to Mr Piyasena since April 15 this year remain unanswered.

Meanwhile, founder of the Suva Harbour Foundation Bob Gillett is calling on FPCL to speed up works in removing the vessels.

"The point I try to make is that for Suva Harbour, there is no need to wait around, watch a vessel slowly sink and then pay huge amounts for salvage," Mr Gillett said.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

"They (FPCL) say they maintain a daily watch on vessels that appear to be abandoned. I have my doubts."

Mr Gillett said the FPCL had powers to tow, sell, or destroy abandoned vessels before it sink.

"The problem is that Fiji Ports Corporation Limited is for some reason reluctant to use the power of that regulation."

He said the foundation had received word from Mr Piyasena sometime last year that FPCL was working on removing the wrecks from the harbour. "To my knowledge, not a single derelict vessel has been removed during the last year," he said.

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