The owner of a Fiji inter-island ferry believed to have been riddled with asbestos says the substance has been removed and he says it is not posing a health risk to passengers.
The MV Lomaiviti Princess was formerly operated by BC Ferries in Canada under the name Queen of Prince Rupert and was labelled by some as the Queen of Asbestos.
The Director of Goundar Shipping Services Limited in Fiji, George Goundar, says all ships in Fiji contain asbestos but he is adamant that the substance found in the lower deck of his vessel has been contained.
"Contained means it's been removed. And it's been sealed off, away from the passenger area. It's nothing where any passengers can get affected by. It's been contained, it's been sealed off. This ship was run out of Canada. And Canada is one of the strictest countries when it comes to asbestos on board."
George Goundar says rival shipping companies have been instilling fear into his passengers and trying to take his business away.