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Vessel Owner Tells Of Difficulties

Vessel Owner Tells Of Difficulties
Inter- island vessel, MV Liahona. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai
October 15
11:45 2014

Inter- island vessel, MV Liahona continues her services to the Lau Group under the Government franchise scheme.

Vessel owner and architect Ulaiasi Baivatu said they try their best to live-up to the expectation of the people and provide the best services ever.

However, he highlighted that a major drawback faced by service providers is the charges on freight cargoes especially copra.

Copra is the main source of income to people on the islands and it is usually the main cargo transported to the mainland in all trips.

“The freight for the copra remains. Even the price of copra has increased by the buyer but we are still using the same formula, which used to determine freight in the past and nothing has changed,” Mr Baivatu said. “It is still going at $180 per tonne. So you can imagine that with a long distance trip to islands such as Rotuma, the highest we can get is $86 from the copra we transport across.”

Mr Baivatu said he was trying his best to sort this out with the relevant authority so that they could be a win-win situation.

“I am trying to negotiate this as we are getting little out from it. I hope the relevant authorities will take this into consideration. This is a major drawback faced by the inter-island vessel operators,” he explained.

“We have been trying to provide them with the best services. Some of these routes are uneconomical and the lower freight charge is not helping at all.”

Meanwhile, the vessel has just returned from lower Southern Lau and will be leaving for Northern Lau again on Sunday.

The MV Liahona took over from the route last year after MV Lau Trader stopped operating.

Feedback: losalinir@fijisun.com.fj

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