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Archived News: August 2008

From Fiji Times Online (23 August 2008)

Flights to address direct trade

Air Pacific CEO John Campbell, left, and Taukelina Finikaso, Tuvalu's Communication, Transport and Tourism Minister after signing the direct route agreement

THE direct trade between Rotuma and Tuvalu will address the dire need of fresh agricultural produce for the people in Tuvalu, says Tuvalu's Minister for Communication, Transport and Tourism.

Taukelina Finikaso said they expected the trade to start as soon as possible. He said the majority of their agricultural produce was imported from Fiji.

Mr Finikaso said produce that they consider to be imported from Rotuma was taro, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, dalo-ni-tana, rourou and many more.

Mr Finikaso said like other countries, Tuvalu was also impacted by the hike in fuel price. He said the cost of living had also increased in Tuvalu as a result of world wide increase in price of food items.

Last month, the interim administration approved that all relevant ministries and agencies continue to assist the Rotuma Island Council in the implementation of trade arrangements with Tuvalu and the establishment of the required infrastructure and management capabilities.

Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said direct trade was the solution to social and economic development issues for both Tuvalu and Rotuma.

"The Rotuma Island Council will be the sole exporter for the Rotuma produce, and will engage in negotiations with the Tuvalu Co-operative Society to be the handling agent to wholesale and retail Rotuma produce for the Tuvalu market."

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has been active in developing this trade arrangement.

The Quarantine Department, in collaboration with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, will carry out a Pest Risk Analysis and establish Quarantine Protocols for Root Crops, Fruits and Vegetables to facilitate trade with Tuvalu.

Business community in Tuvalu said this was a good initiative.

Tina Toafa said this would further strengthen the relationship between two countries.
Ms Toafa, who runs a computing company, said they already import computers and accessories from Fiji. She said it was cheaper to import products from Fiji as the transportation cost was cheaper compared to other countries.

From Fiji Times Online (18 August 2008)

Rotuma's eco-camp deals with marine bio-diversity

CELEBRATING International Year of the Sea Reef, L├ÁjeRotuma Initiative (LRI) this year through an eco-camp will draw impressions on the sunken inter-island vessel Bulou ni Ceva to ensure youths take a proactive approach towards reef protection.

The LRI is a community-based environmental education and awareness development programme in Rotuma.

This will be a voluntary initiative that will encourage islanders on Rotuma to participate in activities aimed at informing and strengthening the capacity of communities to make informed decisions on sustainable management of its natural resources.

LRI in a statement yesterday said the grounded inter-island boat, which was buried in the white sandy beach of Oinafa Bay by the jetty causeway, until this weekend when it was sunk outside the reef, had caused a lot of concern.

The initiative is with the intentions of an international port of entry for Rotuma, which will drastically affect the island's shipping industry.

LRI says the goal of a virtual tour of the Bulou ni Ceva is to create a hub of learning of the value and fragility of the island, from the coral reef to the beach and up the lush green hills promised with rich volcanic soil, laced with coconut palms and plantations.

The August eco-camp is part of an annual LRI event that is scheduled to coincide with the Term two school holidays on the island and targets the five schools on Rotuma.

From Fiji Times Online (17 August 2008)

Bulou ni Ceva refloated and sunk off Rotuma

A VESSEL which ran aground on a reef at Rotuma more than three years ago has been refloated and sunk.

Rotuma council representative to Fiji, Major-General Jioji Konrote said the Bulou ni Ceva was sunk yesterday afternoon.

The vessel was swept by strong waves and currents on to the reef near Oinafa in June 2005. A year later it was left at the wharf but it sank again.

It is understood the vessel was refloated, pulled out more than one-and-half miles to sea before it was weighted down and sunk at a depth of about 1000 metres.

Doctor John Fatiaki said the vessel was refloated and tied at the wharf on Monday.

With the assistance of the salvage master we managed to pull it out with my boat and managed to tow out to the deep and sink it," he said

"It' s good news for us."

From Fiji Times Online (17 August 2008)

Canned food runs out on Rotuma

By Mary Rauto

SHOPS on Rotuma have run out of canned food as a result of poor shipping services.

Itumuta villager and shop owner Kensington Fatiaki said most small shops have run out of tinned fish and meat.

"We still have tea, sugar, flour and rice," he said.

"The big shops are still supplying the items that we don't have but I am not sure of the Post Shop because they did not receive any supply the last time the boat came."

Former Fiji ambassador to Australia and council representative to Fiji, Major-General Jioji Konrote, said there has not been a shortage of fuel because a boat left two weeks ago with some supply.

"The franchise scheme which subsidises shipping companies so that shipping companies could make some profit," he said

"Under the scheme, Kadavu Shipping and Ba Shipping service the island.

"Ba Shipping owns Cagi Mai Ba which is undergoing repairs. This is the fourth month that the boat has been out of service. It last went in May."

Mr Konrote said they have being asking the interim Government to help them.

"The last ship to Rotuma was last month. Telecom chartered the Westerland and we managed to send some fuel and shops," he said.

"If Rotuma runs out of fuel then they will have to wait until a boat goes across.

In June, shops and supermarkets on Rotuma ran out of food supply and fuel because there had not been any shipping service to the island that month.

Children had to walk up to 10 kilometres to get to school.

From Andrew Tinker, Director, Workboats Fiji, in Suva (10 August 2008)

Further update on the Bulou ni Ceva

The vessel is now floating, the salvage master will provide the sinking position today and will prepare for the sinking on Wednesday or Thursday.

Peter Malycha wants the vessel full empty of water before taking her throught the shipping lane.

The ship is cracking between the floor and patching is very hard,but just took a few days extra.

From Andrew Tinker, Director, Workboats Fiji, in Suva (7 August 2008)

The vessel has been fully patched up; the floor levels have rusted and were leaking in between floors and compartments.

Mr Peter Malycha said he has patched the double floor, and has finished patching the visible holes. Pumping has started and the inside water level is lower than outside and is holding the level overnight.

I have written to the Director of Marine for approval for sinking of the vessel. Mr Peter Malycha will provide a sinking position.

Mr Malycha indicated he would need 2-3 days to make the vessel stable before moving it out for sinking. so we look at Monday or Tuesday for sinking of the vessel.

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