Bilitaki Refuses To Allow His Age Slow Him Down

“Most people nowadays when they start to earn, they tend to not want to continue their studies. They should be encouraged to study no matter what.”
11 Sep 2019 18:14
Bilitaki Refuses To Allow His Age Slow Him Down
Jone Bilitaki.. Photo: Wati Talebula

Age is not an excuse to pursuing your dream, it is just a number so says maritime engineer Jone Bilitaki.

Determination and passion to be out at sea drives Mr Bilitaki to continue to share his knowledge and experiences even when he has retired.

The chief engineer has continued to also selflessly avail himself to advise and empower those in the industry despite being retired.

Mr Bilitaki, 57, is not a new face in the maritime industry; he is a popular face on the Fiji waterfront as he has been around for some time.

He is now a part-time lecturer at Fiji Maritime Academy (FMA). He continues to bring positive changes in the industry he is passionate about.

“This is my field, following my retirement I have continued to contribute to the industry by sharing my experience and encouraging those hoping to be part of the maritime industry,” Mr Bilitaki said.

“It is good to see that the standard of the maritime industry has continued to improve,” he said.

The Nasau villager from Moce, Lau has been a chief engineer on board some well-known vessels in Fiji and abroad.

“No one should give age as an excuse for not pursuing their studies and experience,” he said.

“I did my marine engineering as a cadet at the then Fiji Institute of Technology and then in 1980 to 1984 I became a cadet for Government Shipping,” he said.

“During my four-year apprenticeship I worked for a foreign vessel called Sofrana Unilines and then worked for the Blue Lagoon Cruises as their chief engineer.

“I was a relieving engineer for the Baron Gas company vessel.

“I have also worked as chief engineer for Patterson Brothers and Consort Shipping Line Limited.

“In 1997 I joined FMA as a lecturer until 2002. After 2002 I joined the Training Productivity Authority of Fiji (TPAF) which was formerly known as Fiji National Training Centre (FNTC) until 2012.

“Then I joined MSAF from 2012 to 2015 as regional manager and enforcement.

“I also worked for Cruise Holding for six months in Australia. When I came back, I joined Billett Wright and Associates.

“Billett Wright and Associates is a company that carries out a survey for foreign-registered vessels. What we do was surveying foreign-registered vessels operating in Fiji and within the Pacific.

“I left Billett Wright and Associates last year to concentrate on working as a part-time lecturer with FMA until today.

The father of four attained his Degree in Maritime Business from the University of  Tasmania in 2010.

“I am already retired and I am doing things on my own pace,” the former Gospel High School student said.

“Children who want to take up maritime studies must know that they need to work hard, be committed and never give up when faced with tough situations.

“Most people nowadays when they start to earn, tend to not want to continue their studies. They should be encouraged to study no matter what.

Then for Mr Bilitaki none of his four children has followed his footsteps.

“This field is a rewarding field and I am glad that things continue to improve over the years.

“At times, I am at Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) helping with their Safe Management System and carrying out audits because I do some training on maritime auditing for lead auditors on quality systems.”

Mr Bilitaki said his passion for this field begins at an early age.

He encourages youths to always give their all when given a task or when they are passionate about something.

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