SHIPPING

Ellington Wharf Closed, Operations Now On Hold

Goundar Shipping Limited’s intention to operate from Ellington Wharf in Rakiraki is on hold.
18 Sep 2019 13:35
Ellington Wharf Closed, Operations Now On Hold
Ellington Wharf closed with chains.

Goundar Shipping Limited’s intention to operate from Ellington Wharf in Rakiraki is on hold.

Yesterday, Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL), Patterson Brothers Shipping Company Limited  and Interlink Shipping Line Ltd representatives met at Namuaimada village in Rakiraki to resolve the Ellington wharf issue.

GSL keen to extend its services from Ellington to Nabouwalu, took Lomaiviti Princess 8 on Saturday for a trial run but was not able to berth because the wharf landing area was closed off with chains.

GSL managing director George Goundar was hopeful that he would be given the go-ahead at yesterday’s meeting but was surprised when he was told to communicate with Patterson Brothers Shipping management.

Pioneer inter-island shipping company Patterson Brothers Shipping Company Limited managing director George Patterson confirmed yesterday that the jetty belonged to them.

“We have been operating from Ellington for a number of years now. All these guys that are coming in now wanting to run here and run there. They should go and find, build their own route,” Mr Patterson said.

“Why should they go and piggyback on other people and the fact is that newcomers now want to run where we run,” he said.

“We have been running from there for all these years. We started from 1985 when the Alliance Party was in government.

“With the permission from them we put our ramp face there and from there and onwards have been operating from there and now those that don’t know what had taken place that time want to start running from there.

“That is where the case is right now and I am sorry to say that we build it ourselves. Government never build it and we built it. We had the foresight of where we are running today.

Meanwhile GSL managing director George Goundar said he was disappointed with how things turned out.

“I just wanted to do a trial run which will determine if  I will be servicing from there or not,” Mr Goundar.

“The head of the clan said that if I wanted to use Ellington then I have to call George Patterson. Why should I phone Mr Patterson; I was confused.

“There was about three or four vehicles on the wharf on Saturday and when the vessel went near, they were showing the chain.

“If they don’t want us then they should tell us straight because we just want to provide the service to the west.

“My concern now is who does that wharf really belong to.

“The meeting went well even though it was long. The mataqali welcomes us to operate from there but the chief is sitting on the fence.”

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has confirmed that the Ellington Wharf in Rakiraki is for public use.

FRA stated that they were investigating the matter.

“FRA is managing the Ellington Wharf. The FRA did not lock it.

“This is for public use and should be not be locked,” the statement stated.

“It belongs to the Lands Department and we are investigating this.

“Patterson Shipping had sent in their application for lease, however, if this has to go on lease it will be through a proper tender process.”

In an earlier interview with FRA acting programme manager Nasir Khan, he said the Government funded the maintenance of the $25,915 Ellington Wharf works.

He said this was included in the 2018-2019 National Budget announcement.

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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