Safety guide conflict

Goundar Shipping workers trying to dock the new MV Lomaiviti Princess 8 at the Narain Jetty in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

GOUNDAR Shipping Services owner George Goundar has called on the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji to refrain from politicising the new Safe Ships Management System’s (SSMS) implementation.

Speaking from Japan yesterday, Mr Goundar said they had their own documents on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which he claimed were better than the MSAF’s SSMS.

Mr Goundar said their documents were more detailed and vetted by a lawyer in Canada and was a living document.

“The system they want is a generic system and one thing we need to understand that we cannot implement it to all vessels without understanding how individual vessels work, that is why our document is called a vessel specific manual,” he said.

“The document deals with safety procedures, environmental and fires on board and it is competent. I had given these documents to MSAF in 2011 and they had vetted it.

Therefore we have been compliant way before these SSMS came into place so what is MSAF trying to say now?

They are converting fishing vessels to passenger vessels and those are serious issues that they need to look into,” Mr Goundar claimed.

He called on MSAF to give them four months because they needed to specify issues with the authority.

Responding to these comments, MSAF’s acting chief executive officer Captain Philip Hill said they were not politicising anything, adding it was the law of the country.

Capt Hill said whether the SOPs being referred to by Mr Goundar were higher than what they had was yet to be seen.

“He has not presented us anything to show that he is in compliance with the SSMS. We had started awareness on the SSMS with all shipping companies last year and reps from Goundar Shipping were also in the training with other staff.

“If these companies can comply they do not have any excuse, we cannot give four months extension it would be unfair to the rest that has complied,” he said.

Meanwhile, Capt Hill confirmed yesterday that 14 shipping companies have complied with the new system so far.

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