Inter-island shipping franchise struggling
29 May, 2019, 5:42 am
SOUTH Island Shipping Services is surviving with just head above water after two of its inter-island vessels; MV Liohona I and MV Liohona II were subjected by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji to undergo repair works.
The two vessels are currently docked at the Fiji Ship and Heavy Industries Limited (FSHI) slipway in Walu Bay, Suva.
This has been confirmed by the shipping company’s managing director Ulaisi Baivatu while making submissions before the Parliament Standing Committee on Natural Resources in Suva yesterday.
They were requested to appear before the committee to present their views on a petition tabled by Opposition MP Anare Jale that was tabled in Parliament on the need to reliable and safe shipping services to the Lau Group.
He said it would cost more than $100,000 to have the inter-vessel repaired on the slipway.
However, he said in the past they had to spend more than $200,000 for access such services.
“We are struggling and it has been difficult for us after the two vessels were docked at the slipway to undergo maintenance works,” Mr Baivatu said.
“Repairs are being carried out on the two vessels generators and we hope that will be completed soon before the approval is given from the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji gives the approval to operate again.”
He said they would need to make arrangements with financial institutions on the payment of their loans.
Despite the challenges, Mr Baivatu has reassured its customers they would improve shipping services to the maritime islands once the two inter-vessels start operations.