Negligence Uncovered: Commanding Officer Faces Consequences

A board of inquiry into the grounding of RFNS Puamau has concluded that negligence and non-compliance are to blame for the incident.

In a statement, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) revealed that the report found significant breaches, negligence, and non-adherence in the application of professional and accepted best bridge management by the commanding officer and his command team.

As a result, those responsible will face consequences.

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua said he would comment on the findings after reviewing the full report.

The Board of Inquiry highlighted that certain best mariner practices and processes associated with the use of navigation equipment for situational awareness and decision-making were neglected by the commanding officer and his team.

“In response to the findings, the Board of Inquiry has recommended several measures to address the identified deficiencies and enhance safety in future maritime operations,” the RFMF stated.

The recommendations include holding the commanding officer accountable for the ship’s 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.

Former Defence Minister and Opposition leader Inia Seruiratu acknowledged the work of the military.

“There is a lot of interest over the grounding of the vessel and the releasing of the report,” he said.

“So I thank the RFMF for releasing the report as well. It brings a lot of confidence because of the maintaining of maritime security, the Fiji Navy plays an important role.”

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