Postings for this forum will be limited to suggestions as to what can or should be done to resolve the problem. Please do not send comments concerned with assigning responsibility or blame for the current crisis, or with issues associated with past history. Solving this problem will be easier if all Rotumans, and others concerned with the island's environment, pull together.
From Vilsoni Hereniko, recently returned from Rotuma (26 July 2007)
I am most concerned that this eyesore is still at the Oinafa wharf, with no plans for its removal. The boat ruins the beauty of Oinafa beach and there is an urgent need to have it removed. If we don't do anything, I think it will sit there for a very long time, probably forever! What can we do to provoke those who can do something about it to take action?
From Capt. Fuata Jione in Brisbane (27 July 2007)
Given the condition of the vessel any salvage work
or attempts to re-float it will be more difficult and expensive
than the work carried out to re-float her from the reef off Lopta.
The vessel appears to be unstable and the hull structure and water
integrity appears to have been lost through corrosion and damage
during the grounding at Lopta. However, if my assessment is wrong
then I suggest bringing in a tug boat and
towing the vessel out to deeper waters and letting it disappear from
sight. As to who is going to pay for this, well obviously the Government
and the Rotuma Island Council should fund the removal of the wreck
and resort to legal means to recover the cost from the legal owners.
I do not envisage Kadavu Shipping and their insurance doing anything
and the vessel in its current condition is unserviceable, so should
be sent to the bottom of the ocean out of sight.
Lastly, the Rotuma Island Council should not allow Kadavu Shipping to service Rotuma in the future until they have cleaned up their mess. It’s time the people of Rotuma get together and and act on the many good ideas that have been floated over the years for the development of Rotuma. The Rotuma Island Council must do more; after all, they are the custodians of our beautiful Rotuma and its people.
The Rotuman people in Fiji and Rotuma should learn a lot of things out of the Bulou Ni Ceva saga and make sure that history does not repeat itself. There was a lot of talk in the past to appoint a think tank group comprised of all Rotuman professionals to meet and advise the Rotuma Council on any issues that may require outside assistance. This is not happening.
The current condition of the Bulou Ni Ceva
Judging by the photo taken by Professor Hereniko and from reliable sources in Rotuma, she has taken water and sand into her cargo hatches and engine room compartments. This is a clear indication that her hull has been breached and is sitting on the sand. The condition of the steel plating is unknown; however, I will say that the underwater plating must have been rusted badly. In the event of refloating she might sink while being towed through the passage and there is a real danger of blocking the channel and preventing ships from coming in.
What are the options for the Bulou Ni Ceva?
This is a very good question and I for one, would recommend the following:-
I want to thank Victor Fatiaki for his suggestions on what to do about Bulou Ni Ceva. What concerns me the most is his comment:
While I was in Rotuma (for 4 weeks) recently, this was the option that most people on the island that I talked to thought made the most sense. Victor's comment makes me realize more than ever how urgent this matter is. The longer the boat sits there, the less likely there will be a happy ending to this saga. I think it is important that all Rotumans who are concerned about Rotuma and preserving the beauty of Oinafa beach put our heads together to think about how we can help.
I know that Jioji Konrote and John Fatiaki are doing the best they can to do something about the situation, and I believe they are our best hope. I have every confidence in these two gentlemen and am most grateful to them for what they have done in the past and are still doing for Rotuma. If one (or both of them) could explain where things stand at the moment regarding the boat, we'd all be better informed. And in a better position to help them and the Rotuma Council.
I wish to thank Professor Herenilko for bringing to our homes the picture of the boat at Oinafa wharf. It must be an absolute eyesore for everyone who sees it. I think this is the first time for our global community to be made aware of the seriousness of the situation in Rotuma. Like many people, I have heard about it but when I saw the picture, I felt quite sad and full of pity. Victor has raised a very important point and it seems like it may have to be up to us Rotuman people (which it shouldn't be) to think of a quick solution to help our island. We are all waiting anxiously for Kadavu Shipping and the Government to come to our aid, but for how long do we have to wait while the boat continues to sink into the beautiful sandy beach. Please, we don't want the wreckage to appear like it's a monument.
I am deeply grateful to several of our Rotuman people for the continuous
efforts to keep the dialogue alive with the parties concerned.
We all call Rotuma home. Now our home needs our help. May God help us all.
From Dr John Fatiaki in Suva (30 August 2007)
May I first extend my warmest greetings to all our relatives and the Rotuman diaspora and thank all the contributors who have expressed their concerns about the situation with the Bulou Ni Ceva wreck at Oinafa.
May I also apologise for not having responded earlier; however, as much work and effort was being put into trying to resolve the issue, I felt it more appropriate to respond when these efforts had translated into something concrete and tangible in the way of a solution to our problem. But I can assure you all that your concerns and sentiments are shared by all Rotumans on the island, in Fiji and by the Council.
In brief, the Bulou Ni Ceva was removed from the Lopta reef in August 2006 after most of the fuel and oil had been removed by Workboats Fiji. It was then towed to the Oinafa wharf where it was moored pending a decision by the Kadavu Shipping Co and the Dominion Insurance Co on whether the boat would be towed back to Fiji after temporary repairs were effected or whether it would be towed out to deep water and sunk.
These "talks" from Sept through November seemed headed for a decision when the events of December 2006 occurred. Unfortunately, as the situation in the country was in a state of flux, we were unable to get a definitive decision from anyone then, and all progress ground to a halt as we returned to the island to inform the Council of the new state of affairs in the country in Dec 2006.
Responding to the request of the Council that we continue to act as representatives of the Rotuman people, we returned to Fiji in February 2007 and began the process of meetings with new ministers, CEOs, etc as we attempted to attend to the many issues affecting the island (including the Bulou Ni Ceva wreck).
These culminated in a ministerial and government
delegation to the island in May that has been touched upon by George
in his earlier hanuju
piece, and which committed to many requests, of which the removal
of the Bulou Ni Ceva was paramount.
A follow-up team from Rotuma (Chairman Tarterani Rigamoto, Gagaj Maraf, Gagaj Mora, and the Pepjei Mata Penamino Tavo) met with the Minister of Transport, Works and Energy and the Prime Minister last Monday where I made a presentation on these issues. The grounds of our submission were that the ship is now a:
We received a favourable response and an assurance from the PM that the matter would be attended to within a month.
I am therefore heartened to note that in today's Fiji Times (30 August, page 50) a tender asking for expressions of interest from companies to salvage, refloat, tow and sink the Bulou Ni Ceva in deep water was printed.
We will continue to pursue the issue, but am hopeful that with your prayers, we will see this eyesore off our island before Christmas 2007 at the latest.
We are the contractors ''Workboats
Fiji,'' who were contracted to remove the fuel and oil from
the vessel. While this was happening we indicated to Government Shipping
Director that the vessel could be moved and quoted a price; this
was accepted and fuel was supplied to our company for the towing
from Rotuma to Suva in October 2006.
As the contractor, we are doing our best. The present
Government is urgently pushing us to have the work done. We have
been fully assured by Mr John Rounds of Ministry of Transport that
the balance of funds will be paid after the vessel is sunk. We accept
this and the work is being carried out.
View from the wharf at Oinafa before the Bulou Ni Ceva was stranded there
photo by Vilsoni Hereniko
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