Bid to enhance Fiji’s port state control

THE Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) is upskilling its surveyors and enforcement officers in the area of port state control in a bid to prevent substandard international vessels from entering our waters.

An expert mission training workshop was conducted yesterday by experts from Japan as part of a series of trainings to further upskill Fijian surveyors in conducting inspections on foreign vessels.
With MSAF a signatory to a number of International Maritime Organisation [IMO] treaties, the purpose of port state control is the inspection of foreign ships in national ports.

This is done to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations and that the ship is manned and operated in compliance with these rules.

“Port state control is an inspection that we apply as a coastal state to all our international ships that come into Fiji. This is done to eradicate substandard ships coming into our waters and our ports,” MSAF acting chief executive officer Captain Phillip Hill said.

“As trade is important for Fiji, with these inspections, we ensure that the ships come in to the standards and ensure that our waters are safe and prevent substandard ships from coming in.”

The training is conducted under a Tokyo MoU which Fiji and the Oceania region are members of.

“The training is for our surveyors but it also trickles down to our domestic fleet,” Captain Hill said.

“The standards we apply to our international ships, we also tone it down a bit and apply it to our domestic ships to ensure they comply with standards. It is not as stringent but to compromise safety.”

MSAF senior training facilitator/ auditor Malakai Cakau highlighted the need for these trainings in order to enhance the detection of substandard vessels entering Fijian waters.

“To eliminate that, we have a network with our member countries that detect deficiencies in the vessels, and through this training, we are upskilled on detecting those deficiencies,” Mr Cakau said.

“It’s so important for Fiji because we are protecting our shores and we do not want our oceans to be a dumping ground, especially for foreign vessels coming in.”

Last year, Fiji had inspected about 38 foreign vessels which were detected to be substandard.

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