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Islanders Want More Franchise Trips And Bigger Vessels

Islanders Want More Franchise Trips And Bigger Vessels
MV Liahona I at Ogea on its franchise trip in March. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala
April 26
11:00 2017

The people of Lower Southern Lau – Kabara, Fulaga,Ogea, Vatoa, and Ono-i-lau want more franchise trips and bigger vessels.

Nukuni, Ono-i-lau villager 52 year old PauliasiVosabeci, said they thanked the Government for the monthly franchise trip,and they were asking for another one as the vessel serving them now was small.

“Most of the passengers in these islands had to wait for another month to come to Suva, when it reached Ono-i-lau it was full,” he said.

He said they needed a bigger vessel so that no passenger and cargo was left behind.

Currently, he said the South Island Shipping Service (SISS) vessel Liahona I was serving them.

The same sentiment was aired by Matai Seruvatu, from Muana-i-ra village in Fulaga.

These islanders are highly dependent on transport-intensive imports for much of their consumption needs, for example food and energy.

A report on shipping service for small islands said :

“The lack of adequate shipping services limits the ability of islanders to generate the income necessary to pay for shipping services, while infrequent and unreliable shipping schedules also lead to increased safety risks to passengers and cargo, and added costs for outer island transport.

“These conditions in turn limit opportunity for social interaction; access to education, health, and business development services; and the ability of public agencies to deliver programmes and develop social infrastructure in the outer islands. They also increase the prices of essential good.”

According to SISS operation manager, Ben Cavu, said the number of passengers MV Liahona 1 could carry was 150.

This figure, he said was approved by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF), because they have met the requirements.

“We don’t decide the number of passengers to carry, it’s up to MSAF,” Mr Cavu said.

He said they were ready for another franchise trip to these islands if approved by Government.

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