MSAF & Fiji Navy Partnership
The MARITIME SAFETY AUTHORITY OF FIJI and the REPUBLIC OF FIJI MILITARY FORCES NAVY DIVISION are happy to announce the signing of a MEMORANDUM of UNDERSTANDING between the two parties which will foresee the advancement of the following responsibilities:-
- Enhancing Government’s responsibility in putting in place a SEARCH and RESCUE system that will be readily available in providing prompt and efficient assistance to those in distress at sea, this is in accordance with Government’s obligation under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 and future amendments to the Convention and International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, Protocol 1978, Protocol 1988, all mandatory Codes and future amendments to the Conventions and Protocol;. Whilst the Fiji Navy will focus on the operational aspect of Search and Rescue, MSAF in its role as the Regulator for the State will be responsible for reporting to the International Maritime Organisation which is a specialised agency of the United Nations on the Search and Rescue operations carried out by the Navy, and
- Enhance Government’s responsibility to have in place updated Charts through an efficient Hydrography service consistent with the requirements under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, Protocol 1978, Protocol 1988, all mandatory Codes and future amendments to the Conventions and Protocol.
The other key components of the MOU are the recognition of the following:-
- The role and competence of the Navy as government’s maritime enforcement agency:
- The role and competence of MSAF as the government’s maritime safety Administrator and Regulator;
- A real need to delegate MSAF’s saving of lives at sea function to the Navy;
- The relevance of each Parties roles in addressing the above;
- The effectiveness and efficiency of inter- agency cooperation and responses in dealing with existing challenges in the use of Fiji’s maritime zones.
MSAF’s acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Philip Hill said the signing of the MOU means a concerted effort between the two signatories which will enhance swift response and service delivery from the Fiji Navy and MSAF officers.
Cpt Hill said the coordination of resources will see that Government obtains the maximum output on international obligations and conventions that it is a party to, particularly in relation to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.
“The purpose of having this MOU is simply to enhance existing coordination and cooperation efforts between the parties as well as overseeing the delegation of enforcement powers under the Maritime Transport Act (2013) to include naval officers [as enforcement officers],” Cpt Hill said.
The MOU will also see MSAF providing relevant training to the Fiji Navy officers prior to their appointment as authorised enforcement officers.