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The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has recently re-constructed the marine navigational lighthouse located on the reef north of Ovalau Island.

MSAF chief executive officer, Mr Neale Slack said the lighthouse, commonly known by mariners as North Ovalau is now installed with the latest self contained solar LED marine lantern at a cost of $142,290.00

Mr Slack said the lighthouse which was built in 1977 is now fully operational and will assist in marine navigation especially for foreign going vessels, which enter Fiji through the Vatu-i-ra Passage.

“Currently there are about 64 government-owned light structures and about 1200 beacons and buoys with a requirement for more to be installed as the new shipping routes open up,” Mr Slack said.

Mr Slack added most of the older lighthouses have been converted from oil and gas to solar power which is an extremely efficient means of facilitating power to the lights and has proven to be reliable.

“In 2011 to 2012, $3.5million was budgeted for light houses and an additional $2million has been set aside for marine aids for navigation within Fiji waters including the Economic Exclusive Zone(EEZ).

“MSAF will continue to work closely with the Government Shipping Services in carrying out repairs and maintenance of navigation systems such as lighthouses, beacons and buoys,” Mr Slack said.

Meanwhile, MSAF will be carrying out a structural inspection and installation of a new solar LED marine lantern at the newly built Wakaya Island Reef lighthouse.

“The Wakaya lighthouse will be fully operational by the end of this month,” Mr Slack said.

In addition, six new lighthouses will be constructed between the Mali Passage to Malau in Vanua Levu this year.

The new lighthouses will guide vessels towards the Port of Malau.

Mr Slack highlighted that MSAF continues to face challenges in maintaining the operability of these lights due to vandalism.

“The vandalism has resulted in lighthouses sustaining structural damage such as the Wakaya light house,the Koro light house and the Udu light house,” Mr Slack said.

Mr Slack has once again reminded the public that damaging or interfering with Aids that assist in maritime Navigation is an offence and anyone caught will be dealt with by the law.


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