Feature

In Memory Of Savenaca Naulumatua

  It was a proud moment in time for the villages of Yalobi and Waya, in the Yasawa Group as the new Navy vessel, the RFNS Savenaca, greeted the village
08 Jun 2020 13:21
In Memory Of Savenaca Naulumatua
RFNS Savenaca anchored off Yalobi Village on June 6, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

 

It was a proud moment in time for the villages of Yalobi and Waya, in the Yasawa Group as the new Navy vessel, the RFNS Savenaca, greeted the village shore on Saturday morning.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Commander, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, accompanied the vessel to its namesake village.

He said: “RFNS Savenaca (401) is a Guardian-class patrol boat, built in Australia for the Republic of Fiji Navy and is named after the seaman Savenaca Naulumatua who died fighting in the Battle of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands in 1943.”

Seaman Naulumatua was from the village.

“It is indeed an honour to introduce the vessel RFNS Savenaca to the people of Yalobi,” Rear Admiral Naupoto said.

According to a certificate that was put up next to his photo in the lounge area of the vessel, the 23-year-old Fijian sailor died in battle during World War II while serving on board Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) Leander.

Mere Nagata with a portrait of 23-year-old Savenaca Naulumatua. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Mere Nagata with a portrait of 23-year-old Savenaca Naulumatua. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

He was a member of the Fiji Naval Volunteer Force serving onboard HMNZS Leander during the sea battle between Allied and Japanese task groups. He was among 26 Leander crew killed.

The Leander was so badly damaged in the fierce battle that it took no further part in the wall.

The late Savenaca Naulumatua died from serious injuries and a crushed chest.

Deputy general secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Iliesa Naivalu, who has paternal ties to Yalobi Village, was with the Fijian Navy delegation that sailed from the Stanley Brown Naval Base in Walu Bay, Suva, to Yalobi Village.

“It is a very proud moment for me as I hail from the same village as the late Savenaca Naulumatua,” he said.

“The vessel is a one of kind, as I felt the great hospitality from the Commander and Navy officers during the special journey to Yalobi.

“When we think about it, Savenaca continues to serve even though Savenaca the man has died, but Savenaca the ship is here and it has come with the soul and heart of the people of Yalobi.

“RFNS Savenaca will be of great assistance not only for our sea borders, but its valuable maritime resources and in combating all types of illegal activities out at sea.”

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Deputy General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Iliesa Naivalu,  onboard RFNS Savenaca and waiting to disemabark for Yalobi Village on June7, 2020.   Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Deputy General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Iliesa Naivalu,
onboard RFNS Savenaca and waiting to disemabark for Yalobi Village on June7, 2020.
Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

A plaque was  unveiled in Yalobi Village to commemorate the vessel’s visit and Savenaca’s history, with the Bible verse John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

The vessel has room for 23 crew members, a 3000 nautical range; the overall length (LOA) is 39 metres and width of 8m.

The RFNS Savenca replaces the RFNS Kula and is the seventh vessel of the class to be completed, and the first of two to be delivered to Fiji.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  adi.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj

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