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Workboats Fiji to remove vessel

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Workboats Fiji has been contracted to remove the vessel Bulou Ni Ceva from Onafia Jetty in Rotuma, says director Workboats Fiji, Shubnum Bibi.

In a statement yesterday, Workboats Fiji denied claims that little was being done about the state of the vessel.

"There has been speculation that little is being done about it. We deny this and can provide details of our actions," said Mr Bibi.

He said Workboats Fiji was approved by the Ministry of Transport to remove the vessel for sinking on December 20 last year.

Workboats Fiji was supposed to start work on the derelict ship on January 8 but departed for Rotuma two days later because of Cyclone Gene.

"Workboats crew evaluated the status of the vessel, took pictures, conducted under water survey for holes and further damage to the hull structure," he said.

Crew discovered that the vessel listed on the starboard side, that the Ground Deck was full of water, the cargo hold half full of sand, there were further holes at the water line, making salvage more difficult and that the hull had sunk in about two meters of sand.

Workboats Fiji would also prepare the necessary "Risk Assessment Form" and "Potential Hazard Materials Form" required by the Department of Environments before sinking.

He said the crew would travel to Rotuma on March 14-18 to complete patching and pumping the vessel before towing it for disposal by sinking it in an environmentally safe place. "Lifting and pumping the vessel in this condition will take time, It is a hazardous operation and the safety of the crew and other workers is paramount.

"We have to work within a budget and complete the work within the parameters set by the ministry," he said.

In early reports it said there were 51 derelict vessels in the Suva harbour that needed to be removed including the Bulou Ni Ceva.

It said to tow and sink one fishing boat in the deep sea costs between $40,000 and $50,000 and to dispose of all 51 vessels will cost $2.5million and that money is unavailable under the current economic climate.

It also said shipping operators remove all derelicts left at routes they service such as the Bulou ni Ceva in Rotuma.

Failure to do so within a grace period should automatically incur a fine.

The Bulou Ni Ceva has been stuck in Rotuma since 2006.


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