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Levuka Wharf A Risk To Users: Goundar

Levuka Wharf A Risk To Users: Goundar
Levuka Wharf. PHOTO: Rusiate Mataika
May 30
11:05 2018

Docking at the Levuka wharf now is a risk so says local shipping magnate George Goundar.

Mr Goundar made the comment after it took Lomaiviti Princess I one hour longer to dock at the old capital wharf last Tuesday.

According to a Fiji Ports Corporation Limited officer who did not want to be named said the sunken Sinu-i-Wasa I was out of the way.

He said the Sinu-i-Wasa I was in the process of being towed away by using balloons to float and tow the vessel away by the owners Venu Shipping Limited when the ballons ruptured.

“Then the balloon ruptured and the vessel sunk about 60 metres di­rectly away from the Levuka wharf in deep waters,” the official said.

Mr Goundar said: “That is why it takes a lot of time to maneuver any ship to dock as the sunken vessel is obstructing way.”

“Docking at Levuka now is a risk, it took the captain and crew about one hour to manouver the ship around and eventually dock the ship because of the vessel (Sinuiwasa I) lying there.

According to the Levuka FPCL worker a weaker cyclone in early 2016 two ships (a fishing vessel and a locally owned vessel) docked at the Levuka wharf had consistently slammed into the wharf causing cracks at the wharf.

A few weeks later Cyclone Winston, the strongest cyclone to make landfall in the southern hemisphere shook the wharf to its core which created damages that has consigned the wharf to almost being unusable, said the official.

“It definitely needs to be renewed but when, I don’t know,” he said.

Mr Goundar said it was the re­sponsibility of the owners Venu Shipping Limited to remove the sunken vessel near the wharf for the safety of incoming and outgo­ing vessels to Levuka.

According to Minister Infrastructure and Transport Parveen Bala who was speaking in Parliament on Friday, May 18, the removal of the sunken vessel was the responsibility of the FPCL.

“The Sinu-i-Wasa I at the Levuka Wharf was the responsibility of the FPCL as stated under the Sea Ports Management Act 2005,” Mr Bala said in response to the issue raised by Member of Parliament Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki.

Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji chief executive John Tunidau could not be reached yesterday when this edition went to press.

Venu Shipping Limited general manager Ben Naidu could not be reached for comment despite ef­forts by phone and email.

The Lomaiviti Princess I was last week carrying a 91-member medi­cal team that visited Levuka and Bureta in Ovalau on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nabasovi, Koro on Thursdsay and Navukailagi in Gau on Friday.

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