Sea mishap claims chief

Province of Macuata reels in shock over death By LOSIRENE CHAND The people of Macuata are in shock over the death of their paramount chief, the Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea
20 Apr 2013 11:01

Province of Macuata reels in shock over death

The Late Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere. Photo: LOSIRENE CHAND


The people of Macuata are in shock over the death of their paramount chief, the Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere.
The late chief died early yesterday morning after his fishing boat is believed to have capsized during a fishing trip with two other persons.
Traditional protocols from the vanua to announce his death is yet to be done.
The people of Macuata and the chiefly village of Naduri are still in shock.
Fiji Sun visited the chiefly village of Naduri yesterday afternoon and met the men who went out in search of their chief’s body.
William Foster and his brother were the ones who found the body of the late chief floating at sea.
Mr Foster said they left Naduri Village early yesterday morning around 5.30am to search.
“The Police from Seaqaqa came and said a man named Ratu Peni was found with another man (a Vereniki) in the outer sea.
“We knew someone was missing but we did not know who it was.”
He said upon reaching the two survivors, who had been rescued by a fisherman from Siberia, they were shown where their boat had capsized.
“They had gone fishing in the Tui Macuata’s 115-horsepower speed boat. He had just returned from Suva and when he wants to relax he comes to the village and goes fishing,” Mr Foster said.
“Their boat started taking in water around 2am in the morning and the three had been sleeping. When Tui Macuata woke up he alerted the other two.”
According to Mr Foster, the boat capsized shortly afterwards.
“They swam two kilometres from where they were. When they were swimming he informed his tavale (Ratu Peni Vulaca), that he was getting tired and weak; Tui Macuata was hanging onto his tavale’s Tee-shirt.
“They were fishing at the barrier reef where there are strong currents.
The two prayed with him and continued swimming.
“They really did not know what happened to the boat because they were sleeping.
“My elder brother reached them with his boat at around 7.30am and we brought his body to shore.
“We alerted a navy ship that was around the same area and they also helped us with the Police and a doctor from Naduri,” Mr Foster said.
“All the villagers gave their benzene for us to look for our Tui; we had three boats out looking for them.”
The villagers of Naduri are now cleaning up and getting ready for the mourning protocols.
The villagers crowded the shore as the body of the late Tui Macuata was brought ashore.
“He was aged 57, with five children and his wife is from Levuka in Ovalau; we will sorely miss our chief.
“In these waters no one has died, only shipwrecked but always found; this is the first time this has happened and we cannot believe that it was our chief.”
His cousin (tavale) Ratu Peni Vulaca, who was with the late Tui Macuata, could not comment as he was still in shock and in tears.

Chief operations officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu, said he could not comment now as traditional protocol had to come from the vanua.
“Traditional protocol has to come from the vanua to announce his death which is yet to be done.
“We can only comment once the announcement from the vanua is done.
In an earlier report ACP Tudravu said an urgent call was made earlier yesterday morning to assist in the search for Ratu Aisea Katonivere who was missing at sea.
At about 2.45 that morning, a fisherman from Siberia, Labasa, rescued Vulaca and Vereniki after he saw them waving and shouting in the Macuata waters and Tui Macuata was nowhere to be seen.

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