Fiji Navy Command Team Accountability Revealed

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Board of Inquiry has held the Commanding Officer and his command team accountable for the grounding of Fiji’s patrol boat RFNS Puamau.

Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai, Chief of the RFMF, highlighted several recommendations. These include holding the Commanding Officer responsible for the grounding, ensuring comprehensive patrol briefings and navigational planning, implementing clear SSD procedures, providing all seaman officers with Navigation Books, enhancing situational awareness for commanding officers, and reviewing bridge procedures during entry into confined waters.

Maj-Gen Kalouniwai noted that a thorough examination of the incident revealed significant deficiencies in the Fiji Navy’s maritime operations, specifically in navigation practices aboard the ship. The Board of Inquiry’s findings pointed to major breaches and negligence in applying professional and accepted bridge management processes. These deficiencies occurred under hazardous environmental conditions near Fulaga Island.

The investigation also revealed that best mariner practices and the effective use of navigation equipment for situational awareness and decision-making were neglected by the Commanding Officer and his bridge team.

Maj-Gen Kalouniwai reaffirmed the RFMF’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and safety within the Fiji Navy. By implementing the Board of Inquiry’s recommendations, the RFMF aims to prevent similar incidents and ensure the continued efficiency and effectiveness of their maritime operations.

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