Negligence, non-adherence, and significant breaches led to the grounding of the RFNS Puamau – RFMF
Board of Inquiry holds Commanding Officer accountable

Negligence, non-adherence, and significant breaches led to the grounding of the RFNS Puamau – RFMF

Board of Inquiry holds Commanding Officer accountable

By Mikaele Liga
Wednesday 10/07/2024

The final and thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the incident of the RFNS Puamau showed significant breaches, negligence, and non-adherence in applying professional and accepted navigation practices and mariner skills which caused its grounding at the Fulaga reefs.

The RFMF says the investigation was conducted by the Board of Inquiry of the Fiji Military Forces.

They say the highlighted non-compliance has to accept the best bridge management processes by the Commanding Officer and his command team in the application of safety measures under such environmental conditions when in confined and hazardous waters close to Fulaga Island.

The RFMF says the Board also highlighted that certain best mariner practices and processes associated with the use of navigation equipment for situational awareness and decision-making were neglected by the Commanding Officer and his bridge team.

They say in response to the findings, the Board has recommended several measures to address the identified deficiencies and enhance safety in future maritime operations.

The RFMF says these recommendations include holding the Commanding Officer accountable for the ship's grounding, ensuring comprehensive patrol briefings and navigational planning, implementing clear Safety and Security declaration procedures, providing all seaman officers with Navigation Books, enhancing situational awareness for commanding officers, and reviewing bridge procedures during entry into confined waters.

The RFMF says it is committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and safety within the Fiji Navy.

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