MSAF to investigate incident

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The owners of a barge that ended up on the reef near Rotuma said their vessel dragged anchor during bad weather on Thursday night.

“They anchored at the normal anchorage, they dragged anchor onto the reef at high tide,” a spokesperson from Cruz Holdings said.

“The tug was 400m away in deep water.

“So the boys, instead of struggling in the dark and doing any damage, let it settle and in the morning at high tide, they managed to pull it off.

“The problem with Rotuma, it’s a bad anchorage, there’s no mooring buoys there and the tug holding a 1000-tonne barge does not stand much of a chance when storms come up at night.”

Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji CEO Joeli Cawaki has ordered a probe into the incident.

He said the investigations would be extensive because the vessel belonged to a company whose ship sank at the Kings Wharf in Suva in 2017.

“It is a breach of safety issue and because this is the second incident involving the same company, where their vessel sank in Suva Harbour, we will look at all the areas.

“We will look at the company, the seafarers — are they competent enough.”