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Skipper Happy With Four Decades of Seafaring

After four decades in the sea­faring business, Captain Inoke Ratotodro is closing out his twilight years with the fast growing roll on roll off ferries giant Goundar Shipping Limited pleased
18 May 2018 11:00
Skipper Happy With Four Decades of Seafaring
the issue. Captain Inoke Ratotodro at his office in Walu Bay, Suva on May 15, 2018. Photos:

After four decades in the sea­faring business, Captain Inoke Ratotodro is closing out his twilight years with the fast growing roll on roll off ferries giant Goundar Shipping Limited pleased with the outcome.

“I’ve enjoyed my work and my calling and managed to look after my family,” the 63-year-old Tuatua native of Koro in Lomaiviti said.

The father of three, two boys and a girl looks back at his career and believes in the field for Fiji’s youth to exploit because of the promise in fruitful employment and the access to the abundance of the water sur­rounding Fiji in the Pacific Ocean.

“Government should be looking at the huge growth in the field in the recent past and ways to encourage youths to utilize the resources we have,” Captain Ratotodro said.

“Our ships that are used domesti­cally are getting bigger and bigger and we need to train our sea farers to get proper qualification.

“We need to get our academy (Fiji Maritime Academy) to get Master Class One and Two for our seafarers to get these tickets here.

“Instead of getting training over­seas in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, we need to do them here.”

He said assistance should be pro­vided by the Government to allow young men and women to get the necessary qualifications to man the opportunities in the seafaring field.

He said not only was there oppor­tunities for careers in the field but provided opportunities for seafar­ing overseas.

“Our seafarers overseas are inject­ing a lot of revenue from deck crew workers to officers and engineering work,” Captain Ratotodro said.

Captain Ratotodro started out in 1976 as a cadet with the Government Shipping as a 21-year-old and got his Pacific Island second mate ticket two years later.

In 1981 he got his chief mate ticket and Pacific Island Class II Master in 1983.

In 1995 he got an international cer­tificate with a Standard Training Certification in Watchkeeping which opened up his horizons for international opportunities.

He was employed by the Fiji Islands Maritime and Safety Administration (now Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji) from 2006 to 2009 and was the Acting director of the organization in 2009.

At reaching the retirement age, Captain Ratotodro retired in 2010 before joining Goundar Shipping in 2011 as the senior master of the fleet.

Goundar Shipping has a fleet of five ferries that provide shipping services throughout Fiji.

He said some of the issues that he saw that needed to be sorted out in the industry was the re­view of taxing overseas seafar­ers and the training provided by the Fiji Maritime Academy to be streamlined with Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji requirements.

“Overseas seafarers work with for­eign companies and overseas work who brought in much needed reve­nue for the country; they should not be taxed,” Captain Ratotodro said.

He said he was saddened by FMA graduates not getting their tickets with MSAF because their certifi­cates were not recognized.

“Quite a few of the certificate hold­ers of certificates from the academy (FMA) are not recognized by the MSAF and this need to be ironed out,” he said.

“Otherwise the students going through the academy will be disil­lusioned when they are qualified ac­cording to the academy and MSAF do not recognize the certificates.”

He said the last couple of years was frustrating for graduates from the FMA and the authorities needed to work together to properly assess and resolve the issue

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