Removing derelict vessels from Fiji’s three main ports at Suva, Lautoka and Levuka will cost FJD$59 million (US$26.7 million), according to Minister of Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Responding to a question from the Opposition, Sayed-Khaiyum said, “A lot of these ships have local owners and they have sort of sunk them and disappeared. So these companies do not even exist.”
There are currently 17 derelict vessels and 32 wrecks in Suva Harbour, Lautoka and Levuka port, he revealed in Parliament.
“Removing one derelict vessel can cost from FJD$50,000 (US$22,700) to millions of dollars. The cost is quite enormous, said Sayed-Khaiyum.
To remove them, the government needs a multi-agency partnership to ensure any removal will not damage the environment.
“The fact is these ship owners have a responsibility, they are supposed to remove them. Now the burden seems to be falling on Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL).
“A number of shipping companies have been given notices to remove derelict ships. I have a list of the ones that need to be removed, said Sayed-Khaiyum.
He assured Parliament and the nation that ‘none of these derelict vessels have caused any damage visibly and the Department of Environment has not alerted us to any environmental degradation.’
The traditional owners of the Suva harbour fishing ground, the people of Navakavu have offered to assist Fiji Ports Corporation Limited with the removal of the wrecks and derelict vessels.
“They are requesting if FPCL, through correspondence dated 04 January 2022, could provide details of the vessel owners so they can assist in the removal of those derelict vessels, ” said Aseri Radrodro, the Opposition SODELPA Member of Parliament.
Radrodro asked the government for an update on the removal and disposal of derelict vessels from Suva Harbour – during the Question Time in Parliament Wednesday.