MSAF proposes drug test seafarers

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Random drug tests could be mandatory for all seafarers as the Marine Safety Authority of Fiji works to combat the illegal drug trade across maritime islands. Picture: FILE

Random drug tests could be mandatory for all seafarers as the Marine Safety Authority of Fiji works to combat the illegal drug trade across maritime islands.

MSAF chief executive officer Joweli Cawaki said they were extremely concerned about the emerging dangers of drugs being transported in private and commercial vessels.

“This is an emerging problem and our maritime transport vessels are very much involved in this movement of drugs,” said Mr Cawaki.

“So, from our perspective we have to put together something that acts as a deterrent for our seafarers and commercial shipping companies, boat owners that might be involved in these activities.”

Mr Cawaki said they were carrying out legislative reviews to strengthen their response to would perpetrators.

“That is why we are looking at legislative reviews because we do not have any policies that deal with seafarers or companies that are caught being involved in this illegal trade.

“We have the criminal act part where they will be taken into police custody and charged. There is no policy under MSAF that allows us to take further action against those caught.

“So, one of our recommendations is to carry out random drug tests for all seafarers.

“We also want this policy implemented for our students who are studying in our maritime schools.”

Mr Cawaki said another deterrent they hoped to implement through policy changes was to delicence suspects.

“We want to also take away their licence.

“And if a company that they work for is also found to be involved then they too will be deregistered.”

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