SUNBIZ

The Return of Taveuni Princess 2

Owned by Grace Shipping Company (GSC), the Taveuni Princess 2 will be commissioned this afternoon by a senior Government official. Soniya Thakur, managing director of the company and captain, said
01 Mar 2017 11:00

Owned by Grace Shipping Company (GSC), the Taveuni Princess 2 will be commissioned this afternoon by a senior Government official.

Soniya Thakur, managing director of the company and captain, said they were glad to make a return to the shipping industry in a big way.

Built at a cost of around $1million, the vessel will replace Taveuni Princess that was destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston in February last year.

Passenger ferry, Taveuni Princess 2, has returned to serve the travelling public of the northern division.

This time, the vessel returns in its newest form, costing the owner a little around $1 million to build.

Owned by Grace Shipping Company (GSC), the vessel will be commissioned this afternoon by a very senior Government official.

Soniya Thakur, managing director of the company and captain, said they were glad to make a return to the shipping industry in a big way.

This after its first vessel, Taveuni Princess,was completely damaged during the height of Tropical Cyclone Winston in February last year.

One year later, Captain Thakur said they were ready to continue the shipping legacy with the new vessel built by her 75-year-old father, Laxman Prasad.

“After our boat got damaged last year, my dad and I were so disheartened because we missed our passengers and the people of Cakaudrove that needed the service,” Captain Thakur said.

“We also lost $1million after TC Winston,” she said.

Captain Thakur said she had requested her father to build another boat.

“My dad is a boat builder – after 55 years of operation in Taveuni, he has built 11 vessels, including the latest addition,” she said.

It took her father and his team more than three months to completely build and put the vessel together.

In the construction process, Captain Thakur said they had employed six people including a nephew, Raveen Kumar, who was the foreman.

While the timber used in the construction was locally produced and manufactured, the brand new engine brought from the United States of America cost them $200, 000.

The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) conducted the sea worthy survey and approved the boat for operations.

Captain Thakur said their service was to concentrate on transporting passengers only and not so much of cargo – so competition was not a threat.

“For the last 55 years, we have so many roro-vessels serving the route, but it has had no effect on us,” she said.

Their boat schedule is daily trips except on Saturdays.

The vessel is based at Lovonivonu Jetty in Taveuni, making a trip every day to Natuvu in Vanua Levu.

Captain Thakur acknowledged Pramod Enterprise Bus Company for supporting them over the past years – providing bus services to their passengers.

“I’m excited and I just can’t wait to start operations and to serve our customers again,” she said.

For the commissioning of the new boat this afternoon, Captain Thakur had invited all Government officials from Taveuni and also the paramount chief of Cakaudrove Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu to be witnesses.



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