Beginning next year, all boat owners in Fiji will need a licence to travel in local waters irrespective of whether to fish or merely traveling to another island.
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji officer Samisoni Nacagilevu made the comment at the Lau provincial Council meeting at Studio 6 in Suva on Friday.
The move follows the impending introduction of two new decrees, the Marine Transport Decree and the Maritime Licensing Decree, which will be implemented next year.
Nacagilevu said the issuance of licences is conditional in that certain requirements need to be met by the boat owners.
He said the boat will only be passed if it has the essential safety gears like life jackets and for boat owners, they will need a certificate.
“And just like the procedure with the Land Transport Authority, it will also apply to Marine Transport,” he said.
“The boat owners will have to get a certificate first before getting their licences.”
He said the MSAF has reached out to the outer islands to inform them of the new development.
Lau Provincial Council chairman Filipe Bole requested for more awareness on this especially in areas like Oneata where all villagers own a boat.
Nacagilevu said this could be done, but the approval of the MSAF and the Ministry of Transport needed to be obtained first.
By Ropate Valemei