Court martial convicts Fiji Navy four

Ensign Mike Brown and Lieutenant Ben Salacakau during a break at the court martial at the Queen Elizabeth barracks in Nabua earlier. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

THE court martial today convicted the four Fiji Navy officers who admitted they caused the naval ship (RFNS) Kiro to run aground.
Lieutenant Commander Enele Ma’afu, Lieutenant Commander Jeke Vakararawa, Major Valu Raumakita and Lieutenant Colonel Tavainavesi are the general court martial panel members in this case.
Commander Netani Sukanaivalu who is presiding over this case said they had accepted the officer’s guilty plea and convicted them of all the charges accordingly.
The navy ship RFNS Kiro ran aground at Belcher Reef on July 14, 2016.
Lieutenant Commander Saula Tuilevuka, Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga, Lieutenant Ben Salacakau and Ensign Mike Brown maintained their guilty plea after the charges were read to them again this morning during the general court martial held at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.
The four were charged contrary to Section 29 A(b) of the Army Act 1955.
Lieutenant Commander Saula Tuilevuka while holding the appointment of Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) failed to submit a report to Head Quarters Navy on the Operational Sea Check of the RFNS Kiro, the court martial heard.
Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga while holding the appointment of commanding officer, failed to train the navigation officer, Ensign Brown, to be familiar with the ship’s navigation equipment.
While holding the appointment of commanding officer, he failed to fill his order book as his duty required him to do so.
While holding the appointment of commanding officer, Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga gave approval to the navigator to proceed with the initial plan without paying attention to the requirement of regulation on safety clearance for coastal navigation.
Lieutenant Ben Salacakau while holding the appointment of executive officer, failed to ensure that the RFNS Kiro night order book was handed to the commanding officer. This was his duty as the most senior watchkeeper prior to briefing the rest of the officer of the watch onboard.
Ensign Mike Brown while holding the appointment of navigation officer neglected to alter its course to avoid grounding the vessel on Belcher Rock.
The officers also agreed to the summary of facts that was read to them by prosecutor Captain Aisea Drodrolagi and Captain Aisea Paka.
The officers have been given until next week Friday, July 6, to get witnesses to mitigate on their behalf.

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