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No Layoff Of Crew Says Goundar Shipping Director, Close to $1 Million Loss Since Stop Order

When asked by Fiji Sun on how much loss incurred since the stop order was issued, he said it was close to $1 million.
08 Jul 2019 15:10
No Layoff Of Crew Says Goundar Shipping Director, Close to $1 Million Loss Since Stop Order
George Goundar

Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) owner and managing director George Goundar confirmed there would be no layoff by its crew members.

He made this comment yesterday after a report was released stating that the company would be laying off 120 crew this week.

But Mr Goundar warned that if there is no resolution of issues with Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) by the end of this month, he will close down Goundar Shipping  and sell all his ships to overseas buyers.

The MSAF on July 1 had stopped all GSL vessels from operating after it failed to comply with the Maritime (Safe Ships Management System) Regulation.

He says his ships have international documentation which is of higher standard than that required by MSAF.

There is a total of 250 crew currently on board Goundar Shipping ‘s six vessels.

“For me my crew are loyal to me, they are safe and they are the one who have build this company up and there is nothing to do with them. There is no layoff. And it’s unfair for me to do this to my crew. At the moment a guarantee that all my crew are safe.”

Mr Goundar said those workers who are entitled for annual leave have taken their leave and were still getting paid.

“I have no idea about how long this shut down detainment from MSAF will take.

“Now I live it up to them on how far they want to take this near. As a small player, I have to follow MSAF law, even I may disagree with it but that’s the law of MSAF where I have to be abide by it.”

He said: “For me I have to protect my company and my employees.”

Two vessels sold

Mr Goundar has also confirmed that he would be selling two of his vessels.

“There are couple of foreign buyers coming in to buy my vessels and they will be in the country this week.”

He doesn’t want to disclose the cost of the two vessels and which of his vessels he is going to sell.

“I will have to downsize to smaller ships, maybe MSAF prefers fishing vessel converted to passengers ship and that’s the way I will go.

“I think I grew too fast in the past eight years. I grew into 10 ships and people cannot see that. But I’m just looking at providing employment for local seafarers.”

He said that he wouldn’t sell any of his vessels locally since MSAF was claiming that all his vessels were not safe.

Loss

When asked by Fiji Sun on how much loss incurred since the stop order was issued, he said it was close to $1 million.

“I’m hurt because at the end of the day it’s the travelling public that suffers. I can shut down my company anytime and go back and enjoy my life, but it will be a big a void left in Fiji.

“I see there is a lot of cry from outer islands and Government is trying their best to facilitate the industry.”

Plans

Mr Goundar said: “I have plans to bring in more four more ships, and I am now questioning myself should I bring it in or no. I am really concerned now.”

He said he is waiting till the end of this month. If MSAF keeps dragging it he would give up on the business.

“If nothing’s done end of this month, I am shutting down my business.”

He said for the past two weeks he was trying to contact MSAF chief executive officer, and was not successful.

“I have a crew of 10 still in Japan waiting for documents that MSAF is still not providing. As an investor, it is scary for us to invest in Fiji if MSAF keeps on delaying this.

“I cannot sustain this loss for longer, month is what I can sustain. If I don’t get the document done in one month, there is no sense for me staying in Fiji for any longer.”

Fiji Sun was trying to get comments from MSAF acting CEO Philip Hill yesterday, there was no response from him before this edition went to press.

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