The Fiji Times »Unsung Heroes: Tribute to Sailors
Despite being affected by the pandemic, the maritime and maritime sector has maintained trade in Fiji.
Trade, Commerce, Tourism and Transport Minister Faiyaz Koya, during his speech on World Seas Day, said seaports have remained open during the pandemic, making available to medicines, food and essentials.
“Therefore, the spirit, momentum and significance of this day is always very high and celebrated by everyone in this important industry,” he said.
“I want to pay special tribute to our unsung heroes, our sailors. They have made personal sacrifices throughout the pandemic.
“Many were stranded on ships for many months, while others were unable to return to their ships.”
According to Koya, Fiji has more than 5,000 registered seafarers, who worked in the maritime and maritime industry.
“Over the past five years, more than 600,000 tonnes of cargo have been transported to and from our maritime islands for both economical and non-economic routes and this is only made possible through the passion and commitment of all. our sailors.
“In addition, our government shipping services continued to support the medical sector during the second wave of the pandemic.
“Our sailors aboard the MLC Veivueti on two occasions provided much needed support to FEMAT and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services during the Lautoka and Kadavu epidemic. “
He said the sailors had left their homes for weeks to help the frontliners.
“Likewise, our sailors aboard the MV Cagivou have assisted our frontliners in Yasawa and will continue to do so until the cases in these maritime islands are managed. “
Mr. Koya also highlighted the realities of the pandemic on the national shipping industry.
He said the reality of the situation was that when a ship’s sailors tested positive, the ship was expected to be isolated due to the confined space and the type of work being done.
“Our ports and piers were imposed with strict protocols and had to close and restrict movement at some point.
“The ship operators had to shut down the sailboats until the isolation periods were over.”
He added that some ships had to be isolation or quarantine facilities and that no passengers could be moved to and from the maritime islands.
Maritime protocols have also reportedly been designed and implemented to ensure that there is no interaction between maritime islanders and seafarers.