From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your September 27 briefing

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The focus of attention remains firmly on the Rugby World Cup in France. We have that as the lead on the front page of The Fiji Times for Wednesday. September 27. Manu Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua talks about how the Flying Fijians are attracting much attention and pride in the region following impressive outings against tier 1 nations.

In the second story on the front page, villagers in at least one of our outer islands are bracing themselves for the worst as heavy rain is experienced in parts of the country.


We have the special Kaila! edition inside. It’s 20 pages of exciting and fun stuff for the kids and for the young at heart.


There is so much to be grateful for, and so much to reflect on when a joint rescue mission between the Fiji Navy search and rescue (SAR) and the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Fiji resulted in the rescue of two sailors aboard a stricken yacht southwest of Viti Levu.

The Fiji Navy confirmed three people were onboard when the vessel encountered difficulties, however, one person died because of the incident.

One of the sailors was retrieved by cruise liner MV Explorer, while crew of the RFNS Savenaca were able to successfully board the yacht to retrieve the remaining sailor and the body.

According to a statement from Republic of Fiji Navy (RFN), RCC Fiji and the Fiji Navy SAR apparatus was activated on Sunday afternoon upon receiving an alert and advice from RCC New Zealand on a yacht, which was in distress.

The Navy deployed the RFNS Savenaca from Suva soon after.

However, in co-ordination with RCC NZ, the MV Pacific Explorer, which was the nearest vessel to the last known position of the yacht, was able to divert from its course and proceed to the location of distress.

A pleasure craft (MV Beast), which was on its way to New Zealand, also diverted from its set course and proceeded to the location after receiving the mayday call. On site, MV Explorer, RFNS Savenaca and MV Beast, co-ordinated on the best way to safely conduct the retrieval operation, in the face of strong winds and heavy swells. The MV Pacific Explorer later proceeded to Denarau with the third sailor while MV Beast continued its journey to New Zealand.

This is co-operation at its best.

When lives hang in the balance, such action lifts spirits.

It is human nature to be considerate. Out there in the high seas, when faced with danger, and life-threatening moments, sometimes cries for help are never acknowledged.

This time, there was a response, and that ultimately mattered for the survivors.

With rough seas and strong winds, ship captains and sailors did their best. They responded and fought the elements to rescue people.

In saying that, we reflect on something that’s happening right here in Fiji.

People are still travelling on fibreglass boats across to some of our outer islands.

They are still risking their lives to get home quickly.

Perhaps the powers that be should be looking at this and come up with measures that will ensure the safety and wellbeing of islanders.

Maybe they can’t wait for the interisland vessels operating their routes. Maybe they need to be back home on the island, and it is inconvenient waiting around.

That said, it is unsafe to be travelling on an open fibreglass boat in rough seas and strong winds.

Perhaps we can put in place measures that will assist shipping companies to come up with a more convenient schedule and there is some appreciation of the needs of our islanders.

Maybe there could be a relook at how fibreglass boat captains are trained as well before they are allowed to carry passengers.

We have raised this issue several times over the years. People are still travelling though, putting their lives at risk, flirting with danger! We acknowledge all those who responded to the stricken yacht. Vinaka.


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