SUVA BOAT OWNERS SEEK NEARSHORE MOORINGS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 4, 2008) - A boat yard owner wants the State to dredge parts of the Bay of Islands in Lami to enable marine vessels to moor closer to shore for repairs.

Emosi Silikiwai said most fishing boats moored at Draunibota in Lami [two miles from Suva] ended up as derelicts because the authorities were discouraged at the distance they had to travel to sea to repair the boats.

"The policy of previous governments lack vision and seemed to support only those who had a large business. It’s about time the Government took charge of local individual boat operators and enable them a place close to shore where they can moor and undergo repairs at the same time. It’s a great inconvenience for them to moor out at sea and travel to and from shore with parts and machinery to fix their boat because there is no mooring place."

He said if Draunibota was dredged as he had recommended last year, the Government would be able to make money out of the investment.

Mr. Silikiwai said the absence of a proper mooring place has left Lami Harbour as a place where derelict vessels were kept for years before they are sunk in the harbor.

He said it was time the State treated as priority the needs of vessel owners who contributed to the economy through their fishing proceeds.

"Past governments were dictated to and advised by influential boat and business operators and small-timers such as us never got a chance," said Silikiwai.

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