NEWS

Xmas Rush

Hundreds of ship passengers yesterday expressed their  frustrations over delays in their trips from Natovi and Suva to the islands for the Christmas festivities. At Natovi Jetty in Tailevu, passengers
18 Dec 2015 17:48
Xmas Rush
MV Westerland.

Hundreds of ship passengers yesterday expressed their  frustrations over delays in their trips from Natovi and Suva to the islands for the Christmas festivities.

At Natovi Jetty in Tailevu, passengers were stranded for several hours waiting for the inter island ferry MV Westerland to sail to Savusavu.

At Port Mua-i-walu, Walu Bay, Suva, Peter Kuru, 16, claimed that he had been at the port since 8am waiting for the boat to leave but was not able to board it with his family because it was filled to capacity.

At Natovi, 46-year-old Nadi market vendor, Arun Kumar, said the trip had been delayed since Wednesday and was expected to leave for Savusavu  last night.

“I spent about a hundred dollars to book for a return ticket on Wednesday morning to watch my son’s boxing match in Labasa on Saturday and also spend time with family. Around 3pm I was at Natovi Jetty waiting to board the vessel and after six hours we were informed it has been delayed for 7pm on Thursday.

“I could not hold back my anger because I had spent much on the trip and was looking forward to meeting my family today; it was more disappointing because they just informed us a few hours before the vessel was leaving for Savusavu; they came up with all sorts of excuses and we didn’t even know which one of them was true.

“I really felt sorry for those mothers who had come with their children and elderly people; also those who were going to attend family functions like a wedding or a funeral; if they told us in advance then we would not have been wasting our time at the jetty,” he said.

MV Westerland owners are Bligh Water Shipping. Chief executive officer, William Vulivuli, said the trip had to be cancelled because MSAF (Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji) had to carry out a site survey which was a procedure conducted to every vessel.

When asked on whether he was aware of complaints made by passengers on catering services in the vessel, Mr Vulivuli refuted it saying they had tried their best to provide meals for their customers.

“We tried our best to provide the best for our customers; I even called up the vessel crew to check on the passengers, I was informed that there were no complaints and complaints by two or three passengers don’t classify that our services was not good,” he said.

Meanwhile, an official of MSAF at Natovi Jetty yesterday said they had to hold back the vessel for there was an urgent need for survey before giving the green light to the vessel to leave for Savusavu.

Vuloko Seru, 59, from Saqani in Cakaudrove also shared the same sentiments. He said passengers had been waiting at the jetty since Wednesday afternoon.



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