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Goundar Waits for MSAF Surveyors

Local passenger cargo inter-island ferry operator, George Goundar, who owns Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL), says he is having trouble in getting his new vessel to Fiji. Mr Goundar who is
14 Oct 2015 11:48
Goundar Waits for MSAF Surveyors

Local passenger cargo inter-island ferry operator, George Goundar, who owns Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL), says he is having trouble in getting his new vessel to Fiji.

Mr Goundar who is currently in Vancouver, Canada preparing to bring his third vessel (MV Chilliwack) over said this may not be happening soon.

As planned, the MV Chilliwack was scheduled to sail to Fiji this month.

However, there has been a delay. Mr Goundar said surveyors from the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) had failed to travel to Canada to inspect the vessel. Questions sent to MSAF on Monday remained unanswered when this edition went to press last night.

MSAF’s public relations and communications officer, Fulori Turaga confirmed yesterday that they received the questions but would respond later.

Mr Goundar said his very senior crew of 13 men is expected to complete their training by Poland trainers by the end of this week.

The vessel, Mr Goundar says, will undergo sea trial, in the absence of the MSAF surveyors.

He raised his concern and frustration over the delay as this would cost him additional expenses on food and accommodation costs for the crew.

Mr Goundar said he was assured by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his trip to Canada in August that an amendment to the current ship registration law would soon take place.

However, he said MSAF should have sent the surveyors over to inspect the vessel anyway– awaiting amendment as discussed.

“I’m in a dilemma right now and I don’t know what is happening because I had made prior arrangements with MSAF to get their surveyors over to inspect the vessel first, pending the amendment to the law.

“The delay on their part, I don’t understand why as we were ready to foot all costs. But they haven’t done so and it is costing me a lot.

“What will my crew do here if the vessel is not inspected, we cannot bring it over.

“ I will have to fork out thousands of dollars on their extended stay,” Mr Goundar lamented.

He said as a returning investor to Fiji, he did it because he saw the potential in the local shipping industry.

Mr Goundar is expected to return in the next few days to check on the situation here before deciding to fly his crew back and if need be, abandon the vessel.

 

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