SHIPPING

Shipping Tycoon George Goundar Invests $24 Million Into 9 Passenger Vessels

“People are saying I am monopolizing the shipping industry in Fiji but to me that is a foul cry from people. They need to understand what I have done for Fiji in shipping in the last eight years and that is what people need to look at.
26 Jun 2019 17:17
Shipping Tycoon George Goundar Invests $24 Million Into 9 Passenger Vessels
Goundar Shipping Limited crew members inside the new vessel Lomaiviti Princess IV on June 20, 2019. Photo: Wati Talebula

Local shipping tycoon George Goundar is spending $24 million on the nine passenger vessels which he is buying over two years.

Mr Goundar has allocated $14m for five vessels this year of which two have arrived from Japan and another $10m for the addition four vessels next year.

“Next year we will have about 14 passenger vessels altogether in our fleet,” Mr Goundar said.

Mr Goundar is the managing director of Goundar Shipping Limited which now has eight passenger vessels registered as Lomaiviti Princess I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII.

“The four coming next year is costing us $10m and they are all high speed ferries from Japan,” he said.

“I am looking at the needs of the people. This industry has a lot of corruption and I don’t keep my mouth shut. I can say take any vessel in Fiji and compare them with my ships.

“I am very wise and smart with the way I invest in my shipping company. I have big ships and now there is a need for smaller vessels for the outer islands.

“People are saying I am monopolizing the shipping industry in Fiji but to me that is a foul cry from people. They need to understand what I have done for Fiji in shipping in the last eight years and that is what people need to look at.

“I have improved shipping to a standard where it wasn’t there before. We have brought shipping industry to a different level now people are complaining that Goundar is monopolising shipping and it’s not.

“I am brining my knowledge from overseas experience and sharing it with my local seafarers on how we can do shipping.”

Mr Goundar said there was a need for more seafarers in Fiji.

“We are getting 120 Philippines. The biggest problem in Fiji is that we do not have seafarers. We have so many vessels coming and I am short of 120 employees,” he said.

“We have gone to the Philippines and did interviews last year and we are waiting for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“Now my crew are jumping from one vessel to another because we do not have the numbers and some crews just work off the vessel when they apply for leave and we do not approve their leave and there is no penalty???.

“We will be going to Philippines in September to do more interviews to get more Philippine seafarers into Fiji.”

However, Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji Acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Philip Hill said in order to bring in international seafarer’s to Fiji an MOU with the issuing company has to be signed.

“In order to get that MOU, you need to go through the whole process of getting the approval, the approval comes from cabinet,” Mr Hill said

“Once cabinet approves, we will then continue the process, we’ll have to go to Philippines and inspect their training school and if we are happy with all that then we can come back and recognise the seafarers,” he said

“Then there is an undertaking between the Philippines issuing authority and us.

“The way Goundar is getting in these seafarers is wrong, he should first come and say that he needs these Philippines workers so we could do the processing that I have mentioned above.

“We gave him the OK but he knows and understands that we need the MOU.”

SEAFARERS ISSUE

Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji Acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Philip Hill has responded to issues raised by George Goundar on the issue of lack of seafarer’s in the country.

Mr Hill said there was more than enough registered seafarers in the country but there was a need for shipping companies to have conditions that was up to par with employment regulations of seafarers.

“There is no other shipping company that’s operating that is complaining about the shortage of seafarer’s, only his company,” Captain Hill said

“He should always review the conditions of work; I think if he does that, he would attract seafarers, he said

“We cannot just say there is not enough seafarers and we don’t exhaust the right avenues.”

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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