Give Us Franchise Runs: Liahona II

‘Government should think of small shipping industry because otherwise, they will die out.’
24 Jan 2020 10:17
Give Us Franchise Runs: Liahona II
Liahona II.

South Island Traders (SIT) is willing to take up franchise runs operated by Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL).

This was after GSL announced that they will not be doing any franchise run following George Goundar’s decision last week to cease operation of five of his nine roll on roll off passenger’s vessels on Monday.

GSL managing director Mr Goundar said his vessels cannot continue running because he did not have the sufficient number of crew members to operate the vessels.

The vessels Lomaiviti Princess (LP) 2, LP 3, LP 4, LP 7 and LP 9 have since Monday anchored around the Suva Harbour.

With GSL suspending its franchise runs; there is a possibility that islands in Yasayasa Moala, Lomaiviti and Rotuma will not be serviced this month.

“We have a shortage of qualified crew and there is nothing we can do about it,” Mr Goundar said.

“We will not be doing any more franchise run. We have emailed the authority in regards to this,” he said.

SIT vessel MV Liahona II, Managing Director Ulaiasi Baivatu said they were willing to take up the franchise run.

“Of course, we are willing to take up those franchise route and why not,” Mr Baivatu said.

“I think Mr Goundar wants to monopolise the shipping industry.

“Government should think of small shipping industry because otherwise, they will die out.”

Mr Goundar recruited skilled seafarers from the Philippines in 2018 and last year was able to get the first batch.

Unfortunately, majority have returned following immigration issues with authorities.

Last year GSL sacked 15 crew members after they were caught drunk and alleged to be smoking marijuana onboard one of his vessels in the Western division.

Victoria Marine owned vessel Brianna is not taking up the offer with Director Joe Tagi saying that they have their routes to service.

“We are fully engaged the next month; we won’t be able to cater for any other runs right now,” Mr Tagi said.

Franchise runs are organised by the Government. Efforts to contact Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) board chairman David Kolitagane regarding the franchise runs yesterday were futile.

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