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$7.9m Multipurpose Vessel For Maritime Role

$7.9m Multipurpose Vessel For Maritime Role
Local Government Minister Parveen Bala outside Parliament on April 18, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
April 20
10:30 2018

A multipurpose vessel worth $7.9m is expected to arrive in Fiji from Malaysia next month, says Minister for Trans­port and Infrastructure Parveen Bala.

A 15-member team is already on the way to Malaysia for the official handing over of the vessel.

Mr Bala said after independence this was the first time that Fiji would have its own multipurpose vessel and this was through the Fi­jiFirst Government.

The allocation for the purchase of the vessel was made in the 2017/2018 National Budget.

He said it was important for the Government to provide regular outreach programmes and respond to natural disasters in the mari­time islands.

Mr Bala said the demand for medical services led to the need for the Government to modernise its response capabilities to be more proactive.

“Through its foresight the Gov­ernment approved the construc­tion of its first multipurpose ves­sel that would provide secondary health care services and quick re­lief response, apart from carrying the usual cargo and passengers,” he said.

The ministry while undertaking the initial designs consulted with the Ministry for Health and other government agencies.

Mr Bala said it through a proper tender process the Eastern Marine Shipyard, a company based in Ma­laysia, was awarded the contract for the construction of the new multipurpose vessel.

He said this was not the first time that a local vessel had been built in Malaysia because there were four other vessels already in Fiji built in Malaysia.

He said the vessel would carry up to 56 passengers and has the capac­ity of transporting 300 tonnes of water to the islands.

The name of the vessel would be released upon the arrival of the vessel.

Meanwhile, Mr Bala advised the Opposition Members that he would not respond to questions on rescue operations for the Patterson vessel Spirit of Altruism that grounded in Qoma waters last month be­cause rescue operations were un­der the purview of the Ministry for Defence.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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