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MSAF opens new office, boosts service

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

THE opening of the new Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji office on Taveuni will save money and time for the people on the island.

Qila resident James Swami said boat operators did not have to travel to Savusavu and Labasa to get their licence as it could be done on the island.

Considering that Taveuni was the nearest government services centre for those on islands of Qamea, Naitauba, Rabi and Kioa, people would now find it easier to access the office's services on Taveuni.

"In the past, people had to spend money to travel to Taveuni then to the centres in Savusavu and Labasa just to get their licences done or renewed," he said.

Kocoma villager on Qamea, Vilisoni Vakatalai, said having the office on the island would benefit people on the outer islands.

"There are a lot of development projects that require the usage of boats but people are reluctant to operate boats now since it requires a licence," he said.

"However, with the MSAF office now opened on Taveuni it makes processing of licences easier and faster for boat operators in the outer islands."

Naqara resident Rafiq Khan said since there were a lot of tourism developments on Taveuni and surrounding islands, waters around the area needed to be monitored.

Mr Khan said with development was the threat of increasing criminal elements at sea.

Commissioner North Jovesa Vocea also said since there were a lot of movements and developments around the Garden Island, a marine office was necessary to monitor boats operating in Taveuni waters.

Mr Vocea said it would save people a lot of time and money leaving them ample time to do other economic and empowerment activities through agriculture, fishing and other activities.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama visited Taveuni last week and told MSAF officers to be vigilant by keeping a watchful eye on the safety of men, women and children onboard ships and boats that travelled through different ports and jetties.

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