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Maritime Safety Unit: To Start Fining Illegal Boat Operators

Maritime Safety Unit: To Start Fining Illegal Boat Operators
September 16
13:11 2017

The Maritime and Safety Authority of Fiji’s Law Enforcement Unit begun operations last week to issue infringement fines to illegal boat operators.

Speaking at the Muaiwalu Business Neighborhood Watch Crime Free Board launch, Authority law enforcement supervisor Joseph Walter said the fines were similar to those issued by the Land Transport Authority.

He said some of the issues they found were overloading of passengers, and boats which were not surveyed.

He said boats found to be in violation of regulations would result in the captain being fined as well as the boat owner.

“We had the infringement regulations in place previously but we did not enforce it and we have started last week,” Mr Walter said.

“On Saturday we had an operation at Bau Landing and we found six boats operating there and only two were operating legally.”

He said the operation was successful because boat operators had come into their office the following business day to apply for permits.

He said initially only warnings were issued and on a second round of operations if boat operators failed to comply with rules than they would be fined.

“During our operations we gave them warnings and encouraged them to register their services and comply with rules because they were charging $10 per passenger from Bau Landing to Bau Island,” he said.

“Small fibreglass boats are only supposed to accommodate 7 to 8 passengers at one time with life jackets for all passengers.”

He said they would continue operations next week and would be giving out fines.

Meanwhile Mr Walter commended the partnership between the shipping community and the Fiji Police Force.

“It is a big help for us at the maritime and Safety Authority of Fiji law enforcement unit that the police is here,” he said.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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