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New Ship For Lau

New Ship For Lau
Vanuabalavu Festival Committee chairman Laisenia Qarase (right), during the final day of Vanuabalavu Day at the Civic Centre foreshore yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
October 10
10:44 2015

A new inter-island vessel Princess Civa is expected to service islands in Vanuabalavu and Cicia in the Lau Group soon.

This was confirmed by Vanuabalavu Festival Committee chairman, Laisenia Qarase during the Vanuabalavu Day yesterday.

“This is the first of our boats,” the former prime minister said.

“Sea transport to outer islands is vital to transport goods and passengers. Through this, we are hoping it will attract other shareholders within the Lau group to join us so that we’ll be able to buy another boat.

“This is just the beginning for a brighter future ahead of us in terms of providing shipping services to islands in the Lau group. It is our aim to get enough ships to service the entire group as well as the entire Eastern Division including Lomaiviti and Kadavu,” Mr Qarase said.

“We have attained the Certificate of Survey which has been approved. We just want to make sure to have another check before it goes on sea trials on Monday and after that is all done, the formal handing over between the owner and Vanuabalavu Holdings Limited and other shareholders will be conducted.

Princess Civa will leave for her maiden voyage by the end of next week or the following week.

“For a start, we want to service Vanuabalavu, Cicia and the neighbouring islands. We hope to service Lakeba and the entire southern Lau to begin with.

“At the moment it is a free competition. We can service southern Lau as well and Moala or even the Lomaiviti group and Kadavu, but it depends on the opportunity.

“Since we have only one vessel, it won’t be able to service all the islands, but with the best of our ability, we will try to provide the service that our people need,” Mr Qarase said.

He said plans were underway to venture into other businesses as well.

“We have established a shipping company called the Tokalau Shipping Company Limited and we are also shareholders with Vanuabalavu Holdings Limited, Cicia Plantation and Yatulau Company Limited has also joined the venture alongside Moce and Oneata Island as shareholders.

“The future developments are to invest more money in some big companies operating in Fiji. Out of this fundraising we hope to raise $400,000 and probably buy some more shares. We are looking at buying properties as well to be rented out like office buildings or apartments. The opportunities are there, but the problem is the capital. When we have the capital, we will certainly go into other things,” Mr Qarase said.

The festival ended yesterday.



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