NATION

110 Filipinos Address Goundar Shipping Crew Shortage

The crew shortage issue faced by Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) will be addressed with the employment of 110 crew members from the Philippines, who will arrive from next week.
24 Jan 2020 11:10
110 Filipinos Address Goundar Shipping Crew Shortage
Goundar Shipping Limited vessels berthed at Port Mua-i-Walu 2 in Walu bay, Suva. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

 

The crew shortage issue faced by Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) will be addressed with the employment of  110 crew members from the Philippines, who  will arrive from next week.

This was confirmed yesterday by GSL managing director George Goundar, who has liaised with the relevant ministries.

The crew will arrive in batches, with 40 to arrive next month and the rest will arrive throughout the year.

GSL was forced to berth five of its vessels due to a shortage of crew members.

Mr Goundar’s team was in the Philippines in October last year conducting interviews for interested candidates.

“There were about 500 candidates interviewed in three days. That shows how much interest they have to come and work here,” Mr Goundar said.

“We had advertised our vacancies for crew members locally for, but it has not sufficed with the numbers we actually needed.

“Following talks with the Ministry of Transport we arrived at this agreement.

“We got approval from the immigration department, but we will be obtaining their Certificate of Recognition from Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) when the first batch arrives,” he said.

Contracts have been extended to two years from the six months offered last year.

Local seafarers

Mr Goundar is disappointed at the behavior and attitude of local seafarers.

“We have local seafarers graduating every year from our institute, but the problem is incompetency, attitude problems and behavior,” he said.

“We had cases where crew members were drunk when showing up for work.

“Issues with drugs, attitude problems, and punctuality are some issues we had faced.

“Then there are people who say we don’t pay our workers well.

“Wages come with experience; you don’t expect to begin work and get the same wages as someone who has been here for five years or more.

“You work yourself up; I have some people who started with us as cadets and have become captains now. That’s loyalty.”

Meanwhile, Fiji Maritime Academy chief executive officer Mahesa Abeynayake said while the academy had produced graduates annually, MSAF issues Certificate of Competency to students who qualify to serve on ships.

“Not every graduate from FMA get their Certificate of Competency, we do the academic work and students have to do their sea time, MSAF will conduct oral tests with the students then they are given their certificates if they pass,” Mr Abeynayake said.

Acting Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, David Kolitagane, said while he could not confirm anything on the discussions surrounding the hiring of Filipino crews the issue being deliberated upon by the ministry, which will release an update.

MSAF acting chief executive officer Tomasi Kete could not comment on the issue.

Edited by Percy Kean

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