SUNBIZ

Goundar Ship Fleets Tied Up By Crew Shortages

Managing director George Goundar has expressed reservations over the venture after he was compelled to tie up five ships because of shortage of manpower.
16 Jan 2020 11:07
Goundar Ship Fleets Tied Up By Crew Shortages
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) chairman David Kolitagane and Goundar Shipping Limited director George Goundar.

Goundar Shipping has invested $2 million in the purchase of two ships it will add to its fleet.

The investment brings to 11 the number of vessels owned by the company.

However, managing director George Goundar has expressed reservations over the venture after he was compelled to tie up five ships because of shortage of manpower.

“Where are our seafarers?” he asked yesterday.

Mr Goundar dismissed a group of workers after they breached company policy on board a vessel.

“Why isn’t Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) looking after the interests of the interisland shipping industry?,” he said.

Mr Goundar lamented the lack of discipline among the new breed of workers joining the market.

He alleged foreigners were allowed to work in the tourism sector without necessary documentation, but the same treatment was not extended to interisland shipping services.

“We’ve always been singled out for our ambitious and vocal stand on the industry. I’m only always outspoken because I’m trying to better the industry.”

Mr Goundar called for a database for stakeholders to access when the need arose for skilled workers.

He denied claims that workers were leaving because of concerns over wages.

MSAF acting chief executive officer Tomasi Kete said the onus was on certified mariners to take up vacancies at Goundar Shipping.

“We know the number of certificates we have issued. We have an online system where we can track this,” Mr Kete said.

The interisland shipping services usually decrease in frequency around this time of the year, he said.

Meetings

Meanwhile, MSAF chairman David Kolitagane said he had held a series of meetings with the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jone Usamate to discuss the matter in a move to resolve concerns.

“We will release a statement once we’ve come to an agreement about a resolution.”

Goundar Shipping owns the largest fleet of vessels that service inter island routes.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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