The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) takes full responsibility for the running aground of the $20million (US$10 million) RFNS Puamau, says Commander Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai.

Major-General Kalouniwai said this despite the vessel being under the responsibility of the Fiji Navy.

“At the end of the day, we will always be responsible for the high value assets we have,” he said.

As a consequence of this, the commander has assigned a convening order for a Board of Enquiry.

“I had a discussion with a minister regarding this, this was just for transparency purpose.

“It’s important for us to be transparent with everything we do as it’s a $20million (US$10 million) asset.”

In an interview, he said the chairman for the Board of Enquiry would be RFMF chief of staff Brigadier-General Sapenfa Motufaga.

“We also have a naval officer as well, Commander Marika Vosawale who has been there for a very long time and a very experienced sailor.”

He said a retired naval officer would be part of the board and representative from the Attorney-General’s Office who would be providing advice to the members.

“We just want an independent view of what happened and the reasons it went into that particular situation. They will look into the procedure.”

He said the Board of Enquiry would reveal whether proper procedures were followed.

Meanwhile, Government is leading the response to salvage the RFNS Puamau from Fulaga reef in Lau.

This is according to a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Defence who said they were here to help in response to a formal request from the Fijian Government.

The spokesman said that RFNS Puamau was a sovereign asset of Fiji and Australia’s Department of Defence, alongside specialist contractors were providing technical support and guidance at Fiji’s request.