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MV Sitka Salvaged

MV Sitka Salvaged
The bulk carrier, Uni Harmony bound anchored at Malau Wharf in Labasa yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU
September 21
09:00 2016

The MV Sitka, the Tongan registered vessel that was purchased for Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) constituency and ran aground at a reef near Kabaraiki village, Kadavu  two weeks ago has been salvaged.

Cruz Holding Limited barge Banticoot pulled it out from the reef and towed it to Suva.

Headman (turaganikoro) of Kabariki village Mr Waisale Tuidama confirmed to the Fiji Sun on Thursday that the vessel had been salvaged.

“We can see the salvage from the village and the vessel had been towed to Suva,” he said

Mr Tuidama came to Suva on board the barge.

Meanwhile the Solomon Star has published that the truth is coming out on the purchase of the MV Sitka, for the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) constituency.

The vessel, according to local marine authorities, is more than 50 years old.

According to the Solomon Star report it’s against Solomon Islands Maritime Safety (SIMSA) policy to bring in aged vessels.

The report said MOI, like other constituencies, secured $5 million of government funds to buy itself a ship. Other constituencies that have acquired similar amounts of money have already purchased themselves good-size passenger and cargo ships.

Temotu Vatud and East Kwaio are two examples.

The question is why MOI, with $5 million at its disposal, opted to buy a ship that was more than 50 years old from an island nation called Tonga?

Aren’t there better ships in ship-building countries like Korea and Japan?

The MP for Malaita Outer Islands, Martin Kealoe, must explain this to his people.

As a leader, his people expect him to account for the tax-payers money entrusted into his care.

The funds must be spent on a ship that would provide better and reliable service to his constituents.

As it is now, the situation does not look good.

Marine authorities are saying even if the ship is salvaged and brought over to Honiara, they will not register it because of its age.

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