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Captains To Ship In Moana

Two foreign–going sea captains have jointly embarked on a new journey in the local shipping business. The pair, Class 1 or Master Foreign-Going Captains Ross Miller and Panapasa Vonokula have
15 Feb 2017 09:00
Captains To Ship In Moana

Two foreign–going sea captains have jointly embarked on a new journey in the local shipping business.

The pair, Class 1 or Master Foreign-Going Captains Ross Miller and Panapasa Vonokula have bought a brand new vessel from Indonesia – injecting $4million into the new venture.

Establishing the business under the name Miller Shipping Services Limited, the birth of the idea started a couple of years ago.

For decades, people in the Northern Division have been crying for good shipping services, according to the new shipping newcomers.

Captain Panapasa Vonokula, the managing director of the newly-established company, said realising their dream has been a challenge.

He said that they decided to save money so that they could buy a brand-new vessel.

Sharing their success story, the pair sought assistance and advice from Government departments.

“We saved $1.5million and we were lucky that the Fiji Development Bank approved our loan,” CaptainVonokula said.

CaptainVonokula said they have named their vessel, MV Moana.

 

Proposed route, plans

The proposed planned route for the new ship is from Lovonivonu Jetty in Taveuni to Natuvu.

He said because they would be based in Taveuni, they could also easily service Rabi once or twice a week, if the demand was there.

Captain Vonokula said they were working in partnership with the Patterson Brothers Shipping Company (PBSC).

When asked about their joint venture with PBSC, he said their standard was in line with what they were looking for.

“Time is our priority. We work with time and we don’t want any delay in our service,” he said.

He said, PBSC has been supportive about their plans and progress.

In their agreement, MSSLwould be in charge of the passengers, while the bus services would be provided by PBSC.

CaptainVonokula revealed that this would be a daily service – passengers or no passengers, they would still operate.

For their passengers who want to travel to Suva from Taveuni or Savusavu, they would use the ferry services of PBSC from Nabouwalu and vice-versa.

Proposed is a road trip by PBSC first class coach from Natuvu to Nabouwalu, another sea trip from Nabouwalu to Natovi by PBSC.

“From Natovi to Suva, passengers will use the PBSC first class coach.This is a one day trip and passengers can reach their destination before the sun sets.

“This service he said would be a boost for the people of Taveuni and Vanualevu.”

CaptainVonokula said they had shipping plans for the North and it would indeed surprise the people.

“People in the North should expect better things to happen,” Captain Vonokula said.

He said the main purpose was to provide a good service to the people back home.

“We are going to provide the people in the North a first class vessel.”

“Anyone who wants to travel in this brand-new MV Moana can book and pay online,” Captain Vonokula said.

Mr Vonokula said the payment could also be done by any PBSC office nationwide.

Tourists who are also in Fiji can use this service for sightseeing purposes.

 

 

About the newcomers to the shipping industry

This vessel MV Moana can carry 200 to 250 passengers, and 4 x 12-wheeler trucks with eight small cars.

Captain Miller graduated from the New Zealand Maritime School with his class 1 Master qualification, while Captain Vonokula graduated with his class 1 Master qualification from the Australian Maritime College.

Both of them have been working on many foreign vessels for more than 10 years.

They said they learned a lot of new things while on board the foreign vessels, so they wanted to apply that international standard services in Fiji.

“We want to show other shipping companies in Fiji on how to serveour local people. We want everything to be installed in the vessel up to Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) requirements, we don’t want to do any other modification once the vessel is in Fiji,” said CaptainVonokula.

The new vessel will arrive into the country soon.



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