Australia Defence Force provides aerial support to evacuate crew members of RFNS Puamau

Australia Defence Force provides aerial support to evacuate crew members of RFNS Puamau

By Mikaele Liga
Thursday 13/06/2024
[Image: Republic of Fiji Navy]

Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua says he does not want to speculate anything on the grounding of the RFNS Puamau at the moment, but he is glad that all the crew is safe.

Tikoduadua said on fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan last night that their main priority is to salvage the vessel so it is back in operation.

The Fiji Navy fleet Class Patrol Boat RFNS Puamau that struck a reef in Fulaga has received additional aerial support from the Australian Defence Force following the safe evacuation of all crew members.

The Fiji Navy which says above all else, the focus remains on the recovery of the vessel ensuring the safety of all involved.

According to the Fiji Navy, concurrently, damage control teams comprised of Navy divers and Navy engineers, are effecting temporary fixes and devising strategies for the removal of all fuel and the patrol boat’s de-storing, with aerial and surface assessment.

Additionally, they have confirmed the absence of any oil spills.

The Fiji Navy says the crisis management team continues to oversee the operation from HQ Navy in collaboration with key stakeholders. Furthermore, efforts have also pivoted towards providing support for the crew and their families and salvage planning, led by salvage experts, is currently underway, acknowledging the challenging conditions presented by the reef passage, which may necessitate phased approaches.

They say despite the challenges, all endeavours are being coordinated with key stakeholders.

The RFN expresses its sincere gratitude to the villagers of Fulaga Island, fellow mariners, the Australian Defence Force, and stakeholders whose steadfast support has been invaluable.

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