SHIPPING

Goundar Invests $14 Million On Five New Vessels

Yesterday the latest of his 10-fleet, $2.2m Lomaiviti Princess VII arrived at the Port of Mua-i-Walu in Suva.
15 May 2019 16:17
Goundar Invests $14 Million On Five New Vessels
Goundar Shipping Limited owner George Goundar (fourth from left) with his staff welcome the arrival of the Lomaiviti Princess VII at Port Mua-i-Walu in Suva on May 14, 2019. Photos: Wati Talebula

Local shipping tycoon George Goundar has set aside about $14 million to purchase five new passenger vessels this year of which two are already here.

Yesterday the latest of his 10-fleet, $2.2m Lomaiviti Princess VII arrived at the Port of Mua-i-Walu in Suva.

The new vessel has the capacity to carry 500 passengers and up to 23 vehicles depending on vehicle sizes.

“This new vessel will service the Yasayasa Moala and hopefully Rotuma routes replacing the Lomaiviti Princess II which I hope to sell soon,” Goundar Shipping Limited director Mr Goundar said.

“I will be buying five new vessels this year, it is costing me approximately $14m,” he said.

“Lomaiviti Princess II used to service this route but it is not good enough to meet the demand and expectations of the people of Lau.

GSL’s first vessel this year Lomaiviti Princess VI arrived into Suva from Korea on April 15.

Lomaiviti Princess VIII, Lomaiviti Princess IX and Lomaiviti Princess X are expected to be in Fiji soon.

“First of all, I want to thank the Lord and the Government for giving me the opportunity to come back to invest and serve the country that I really loved,” he said.

“Ship owners have a responsibility to make sure that people travel safely and in comfort in the Fiji waters that is why we take standard of shipping in Fiji to another level with the vessels we buy.

“This ship will be servicing Yasayasa Moala and hopefully Government allows me the Rotuma route also.

“This vessel was formerly known as Awashima and was serving one of the smaller islands in Japan. The vessel had left Japan for Fiji on April 30 and it took them 13 days to arrive here.

“The new vessel has a lot of new features that we are proud of. It has electric toilets, a spacious lounge, and a room designated for mothers with babies amongst other new features.

Mr Goundar is hopeful travellers use the facilities responsibly.

“Travelling hours are long and to be out at sea for a number of days can be frustrating. We are providing good facilities on board for comfort which we hope travellers will appreciate and look after.”

Travel time to Yasayasa Moala is dramatically sliced with the new vessel. What used to take four days will now take two to three days depending on the weather.

The new vessel boasts 15 knots compared to the previous one that travels on 8 knots.

Mr Goundar is also hopeful that Government improves the standard of jetties in the outer islands.

“We hope Government improves the condition jetties in the outer islands as this will assist us tremendously.”

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