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FSHIL Concerned With Safety, Wants Fibreglass Boats To Meet Safety Standards

FSHIL Concerned With Safety, Wants Fibreglass Boats To Meet Safety Standards
Swamp test whereby the fibreglass boat is filled with water. Photo: Fiji Ports Corporation Limited
December 06
11:00 2017

The continuous reports of loss of lives at sea and fibre glass boats capsizing have promoted the Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries Limited (FSHIL) to com­mence boatbuilding in Fiji.

This is to ensure that the standard of fibreglass boats are not compro­mised ensuring safety to the travel­ling public.

Operations manager Lopeti Radravu said what makes their products different from any other boat builder in the country is the fact that they follow the standard requirements and ensure that they abide by the Maritime Aids to Navigation Regulation 2014.

According to Mr Radravu, a fi­bre glass boat cannot capsize and should not be completely submerged if the standard requirements for boatbuilding are followed.

“The 23D and 23SR hull designs (the most common hull designs that capture the markets) must have eight layers thickness of (chop-strand/roving mats) below water­line and six layers above waterline,” Mr Radravu said.

“These are to ensure that rigid­ity, longevity and durability of the hull in withstanding the six degree of wave motions; “heaving, yawing, swaying, surging, rolling and pitch­ing” during the boat’s years of op­eration,” he said.

“It is sad to note that a few fiber­glass boat builders do not install bottom longitudinal, but if they do install, the longitudinal are drop shot at intervals amongst the trans­verse frames.

“This must be stopped as it is not in compliance to the current, IACS code.

“All bottom longitudinal should be continuous from bow to stern con­nected to transom knee.

“Most of the boats built nowadays have the longitudinal girder stops at the frames which shouldn’t be the case.

“All our boats go through the swamp test before they are sold conducted by Maritime and Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF).

The boat building law demands that the buoyancy should be ad­equate enough during any incident out at sea where the boat swamps, she should be floating evenly with her sheer (gunwale) ranges from 50mm to 100mm above the sea sur­face with the outboard engine.

“That is the standard. However, what some boat owners experienced the fiberglass boat during swamped at sea that she floats at angle ranges from 25 – 35degree simply because the less buoyancy towards the stern (outboard motor is fixed) meaning that in any circumstances at sea, the boat should still remain or seen 50mm- 100m above the water line.

“The end product of the construc­tion materials to build these boats are extremelyslippery so for any incident at sea, there is little hope for passengers to cling onto the boat which is why FSHIL ensures that we have a grabber line on both sides of the boat apart from the life jacket provided

Mr Radravu said FSHIL boats are also fully equipped with Life Saving Apparatus as per requirements by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) requirement as well as the Fire Fighting Apparatus – fire extinguisher in case of fire on the engine.

He also assured that FSHIL pro­vided a ONE STOP SHOP to their Fiberglass Boat buyers. “We will register their vessel through the normal application to MSAF and carried out all paper works on their behalf. All we need from their part is to provide the boat name, he said

“It must be clear to the buyers that it is a requirement by law to regis­ter their vessel and there are a lot of benefits to the buyer provided by Government.

Mr Radravu’s knowledge of fibre glass boat building dates back to the 80s when he worked with the Japanese at Burns Philip (now Asco Motors) who initially introduced the boat model in Fiji.

“I’ve seen how the standard has been compromised over the years and in recent years, there have been reports of people missing at sea so I decided to have FSHIL go back into boat building this is to focus on fibre glass boats standards,” he said.

– Fiji Ports Corporation Limited

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