Floating Dock Now Ready For Lautoka

Captain Rufus D’cruz has been in the international shipping industry world-wide for nearly 40 years.
22 Jun 2019 14:02
Floating Dock Now Ready For Lautoka
The new FT floating dock in Lautoka owned by Chacal Maritime Engineering Pte Ltd. Early this month a total of eight vessels had been docked. Currently two vessels are being docked, is a barge and a Taiwanese fishing vessel. Photo: Rufus D’cruz.

The $12 million new floating dock in Lautoka is now ready.

The project is owned by Chacal Maritime Engineering Pte Ltd managing director Captain Rufus D’cruz.

Captain Rufus D’cruz has been in the international shipping industry world-wide for nearly 40 years.

He is a Malaysian national, who is now an investor that has lived in Fiji for more than a decade.

He spent 10 years in command of Super Yachts for very super rich people.

Below are excerpts from an interview with Captain Rufus.

What is the name of the floating dock?

The name of the floating dock is the ‘FT DOCK’.

How much has cost you to set up a floating dock in Lautoka?

The project commenced in January 2018 and the commissioning of the floating dock in Fiji occurred June 2019. The complete project cost $FJD 12,000,000

Why did you choose that location?

The floating dock is positioned in Lautoka. This position was assigned by the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) and approved by Maritime Safety Authority (MSAF), the main consideration was to provide ship repair services to shipping companies in the western region.

The exact position was determined according to safety of navigation for ships entering or leaving Lautoka harbour

What type of service would you be offering?

Chacal Maritime Engineering provides complete dry docking and repair services for ships to meet statutory MSAF and International regulatory requirements for ship maintenance and seaworthiness.

How many ships can the dock accommodate?

The floating dock has a capacity of 6000 metric tonnes it can easily accommodate 2 large fishing vessels together or a single large cargo ship.

How did you come up with the idea of having a floating dock in Fiji?

Fiji is well located for this industry. It is in close proximity to the fishing fleets in the Pacific.

Therefore, it has a natural advantage to attract these fleets to Fiji for ship repairs.

The logistics and infrastructure in Fiji is advanced and it makes business sense to locate in Fiji.

Fiji has the natural attributes to be a major ship repair centre in the Pacific.

In terms of expertise, will you be employing locals or expartriates?

There is sufficient skills available in Fiji and we are employing 100 per cent locals.

How many people will you be employing?

We employ 40 people in the company and we expect to increase to 100 in due course.

The supporting industries and subcontractors will employ 1000 employers.

From when will the dock become fully operational?

The floating dock has completed all Government agency processes, inspections and requirements by the end of May 2019 and has been fully operational from June 1.

How was the support from the Government, and landowners?

From the very beginning, while in discussions with all stakeholders there was immediate recognition of the benefits that the project would bring to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and foreign income of Fiji.

The project has received overwhelming support from the landowners of Vitogo and support from the Government.

All Government agencies including the MSAF, FPCL, Investment Fiji, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCA), Ministry of Environment, Lands Department, Reserve Bank of Fiji, and Lautoka City Council.

We have a strong support from our local accounting firm Qavio Consulting.

The Fiji Development Bank (FDB) is the main driver for this project.

The local Banks – HFC Bank and BRED Bank also supported the project.The compliance requirements and standards in Fiji are very high. This is not my project, it’s Fiji’s project.

These Government agencies supported the company and provided their positive recommendations for the company to meet and ensure the project commences, in compliance with regulations.

The system was tested with very good results.

It is proof that the Government is encouraging foreign investments firmly supporting enterprises.

Talk about the Lautoka Floating Dock

The dock is twice the size of the Naiqasiqasi floating dock at Walu Bay, Suva. It will assist clear the backlog in the waiting list for the Government slipway and Naiqasiqasi.

All payments are done in US$ which will bring in foreign reserves directly and vessels from around the Pacific have already made reservations to travel into Lautoka and be docked for repairs,

Right now as we speak there are two ships docked on it at Lautoka. One is barge and the other is a Taiwanese fishing vessel.

The docks function is similar to the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The inspectors from FPCL will determine what needs to be repaired and fixed before being declared seaworthy. The floating dock in Lautoka complements the capacity of Naiqasiqasi and the Government slipway in Suva.

Apart from the Lautoka dock can you talk about your involvement in the Naiqasiqasi floating dock in Walu Bay, Suva

I came to Fiji in 2005 and worked for Carpenters Shipping for many years and was instrumental in bringing the Naiqasiqasi Floating Dock at Walu Bay. I trained locals where many are still working today. In June 2016, I set up Chacal Maritime Engineering Pte Ltd.

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