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Locals Eye Jobs With Foreign Vessels

Locals Eye Jobs With Foreign Vessels
Students and teachers of Labasa school for special education gathered for Pre-diwali celebration in Labasa on October 18,2017. Photo: AFA KAUMAITOTOYA
October 22
18:02 2014

A group of seafarers believe the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) could assist them to find work with foreign shipping companies.

Group spokesman Ratu Raivolita Uluilakeba said under the new regulation anyone wanting to work in foreign vessels must get proper authorisation from MSAF.

“That’s fine with us because MSAF is the only authorising body in Fiji,” he said.

“All we are asking if MSAF could set-up a unit that communicates with foreign shipping companies to recruit local seafarers. Like I said before MSAF is the only authority that can vet local seafarers and they could be assisted by the Ministry of Labour.”

Ratu Raivolita said MSAF could look at how the Tuvaluan Government is very much involved in the recruitment of their seafarers with German shipping companies.

According to the country’s report about 500 Tuvalu men are employed abroad at any given time as sailors, primarily on German-owned ships. Another 300 sailors are in Tuvalu on leave between rigorous, 12-plus-month cruises. Remittances from seafarers are a major source of income for families in Tuvalu. In 2002, the Asian Development Bank approved an assistance package to upgrade the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute which trains young Tuvaluans so they can work abroad on foreign vessels. This project was completed in 2011.

“The Tuvaluans have been doing this for the past 10 years and since Fiji is a far more advanced country our seafarers are more qualified and well-equipped to work in foreign vessels,” Ratu Raivolita said.

He added if given the opportunity to work abroad the local seafarers are able to contribute to the country’s economy just like what the military and police are doing with their UN peacekeeping duties.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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