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Navy's challenge

Litia Cava
Friday, November 10, 2017

THE search and rescue (SAR) budget for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces naval division is kept by the Ministry of Defence and National Security and this is a challenge for the institution as it works on fulfilling its role.

The navy's deputy chief, Commander Marika Vosawale, highlighted this challenge to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Wednesday while speaking on the challenges faced by Fiji navy when conducting SAR.

"Our SAR budget is with the Ministry of Defence, so our challenge is the time frame on how we are to obtain it, especially for acquiring for a surveillance search so it takes time to ask the ministry," Cmdr Vosawale said.

"If it is with us, we can just negotiate. So that is one of the challenges."

He said about $200,000 was allocated by Government to the Fiji navy for SAR exercise.

"Our SAR data indicates a significant percentage of boating facilities and incidents in Fiji is a result of local boat operators failing to adhere to safety regulations being enforced."

Cmdr Vosawale said there was very limited and spread out SAR assets available locally and in some emergency cases it was simply not possible to provide any assistance.

"Acquiring the support of such assets locally are usually beyond our control, therefore at times we have to co-ordinate with our regional partners and seek aerial support from their military aircraft."

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