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Rough Weather, Strong Waves Turn Lomaiviti Princess V Back To Savusavu

Rough Weather, Strong Waves Turn Lomaiviti Princess V Back To Savusavu
Serenia Senikavika at Port Mua-i-Walu on July 3, 2018.
July 04
10:00 2018


Passengers on board the unsteady Lomaiviti Princess V  at the height of rough seas outside Savusavu ikened the experience to the sinking Titanic movie.

University of the South Pacific student Sailasa Regunamada, 23, was one of the 300 passengers on board Lomaiviti Princess V when rough seas and hard hitting waves swayed the vessel 200 metres away from the Savusavu lighthouse on Monday night.

“It was a terrifying experience, children, women and everyone just lost their balance. It was scary to be out at sea with strong winds blowing and seas developing into mountains of water,” Mr Regunamada said.

“It was like the Titanic movie, luckily we could still see the Savusavu lights though we were out in the open sea. If anything drastic was to happen we could at least swim towards it,” he said.

The USP Bachelor of Science year one student had boarded the ship from the Taveuni wharf earlier in the day where they had also encountered strong winds and rough seas.

“Soon after leaving Savusavu wharf, the seas were rough and the winds were blowing fiercely,” he said.

“While having dinner with my friends, I saw people were struggling to walk steadily, people were bumping each other and food was scattered everywhere.”

While sheltering at Savusavu on Monday he was able to pay his USP arrears at the Savusavu branch.

Lomaiviti Princess V, had to return to Savusavu on Sunday night after the vessel started taking in water .

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro, confirmed that a door on the lower deck opened due to big and strong waves damaging a few vehicles but no casualties were recorded.

The vessel re-scheduled its trip to Monday.

A Fiji Meteorological Service Nadi officer, who wished not to be named, said yesterday that there was a strong wind warning forecast for Fiji for Sunday and Monday.

“There was an issue of a strong wind warning for all Rotuma and the Fiji group, public and mariners,” the Nadi Meteorological officer said.

“For boat and passengers movement, to go or not to go was their own choice,” he said.

Jale Kelepi, 35, a 10-wheeler logging driver of the Garden Island Root Crops Company Limited in Suva considered himself blessed after arriving in Suva safely.

“We left Savusavu wharf at 8pm on Sunday, about 200meters away from the Savusavu lighthouse, we encountered rough seas,” Mr Kelepi said.

Mr Kelepi still in shock from the experience was not sure what to do, when he heard seafarers calling drivers to check their vehicles on the deck of the vessel.

“From where I was standing, water level nearly reached my knee, I saw trucks and cars not chained swaying from side to side,” he said.

He said his 10-wheeler truck was okay because it was chained to the wall of the vessel.

“It was then when we were advised that we were returning to Savusavu wharf because of the weather condition; I felt sorry for the passengers who were crying and pleading for life,” he said.

Because of the delay of the Goundar shipping schedule, Kelepi’s delivering the supply to its destiny was late. Luckily things were sorted out after making calls to his office.

GSS managing director George Goundar confirmed that the 300 passengers have arrived safely yesterday at Port Mua-i-Walu as scheduled at 6am.

“We paid for all their meals while they waited at Savusavu,” Mr Goundar said.

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