Koya: Seafarers sail the seas and help the Fijian economy

Fiji Navy offi cers and brass band lead the march along Suva during the Day for the Seafarers celebration last week. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Our seafarers sail the seas every day, helping the Fijian economy, says Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya.

“They facilitate global trade and keep our islands and Fijians connected — you transport goods, including lifesaving medical supplies. You’re part of an experience — a product, in the Fijian tourism industry and without this noble profession there would be no maritime shipping,” he said.

“Fiji’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) spans 1.3 million square kilometres across the Pacific Ocean.

“This makes us the natural hub of the Pacific. So you can see how maritime shipping is crucial and the role seafarers play.”

He said the pandemic created a tough working environment for seafarers with crew change, access to medical treatment and shore leave.

“The Fijian Government, in collaboration with International Maritime Organisation and key maritime stakeholders, continue to support seafarers by recognising them as vital personnel.

“Just last week, we came to an inclusive agreement at the World Trade Organization to curb harmful practices that allow some of the world’s biggest subsidisers to dilute the disciplines into irrelevance. Meaning, they take as much from our shores illegally.”

This year’s theme for the annual day of seafarers “Your voyage, then and now, share your journey” pays tribute to the men and women while embracing the experiences and changes in the maritime sector.

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