25 Jun 2018

Safety first says Fiji shipping captain

7:34 am on 25 June 2018

A Fiji shipping captain says passenger safety and comfort is taken very seriously by both operators and the Maritime Safety Authority.

His statement came after a call from the Consumer Council of Fiji for an urgent review of regulations on inter-island vessels following a string of customer complaints.

The most recent complaint was regarding Goundar Shipping's Lomaiviti Princess 5 that forced passengers to wait on board for more than six hours from reporting time before the vessel eventually departed for Vanua Levu.

Captain Inoke, of Gounder Shipping in Fiji, said his company had a hostess on every ship whose job was to care for the passengers needs and provide service.

The offices of Fiji inter-island ferry company Goundar Shipping in Suva.

The offices of Fiji inter-island ferry company Goundar Shipping in Suva. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

He said the safety authority had clear safety guidelines that were followed before every journey.

"We have the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji that clears the vessel every time it departs from a port to ensure they are not overcarrying passengers or cargo, that load lines are not submerged underwater and the manning is okay with the ship before they sail out to sea," Captain Inoke said.

He said there was already a move towards trying to introduce an international safety management system to local ferries and the safety authority was preparing to hold workshops soon.