Repairing Fiji’s Maritime Navigation Equipment Post-Winston

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 8, 2017

A satellite images shows Tropical Cyclone Winston during peak intensity and striking Fiji on February 20, 2016. (Photo: NASA)

A satellite images shows Tropical Cyclone Winston during peak intensity and striking Fiji on February 20, 2016. (Photo: NASA)

When Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji in February 2016, the deadly category 5 storm raked across the country with peak winds of 185 mph, damaging or destroying some 40,000 homes and causing an estimated $1.4 billion in damages.

The strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall in the South Pacific archipelago, Winston significantly damaged much of Fiji’s infrastructure, including to a number of maritime aids to navigation and lighthouse sites.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it has worked closely with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) to install new navigation buoys and assess the damage to lighthouses in Fiji’s network.

Two new low-maintenance polyethylene buoys with self-contained LED lights were installed a fortnight ago, in the waters of Levuka Passage, AMSA said, adding that a third buoy will be installed, following a detailed bathymetric survey by the Fiji Hydrographic Service to identify a suitable location.

In December 2016, AMSA also carried out engineering assessments at eight lighthouse sites, some of which are of historical significance. AMSA is now working closely with MSAF to prepare detailed condition reports for each site to progress planning for their future repair.

The new buoys and engineering assessments will contribute to the safety of those travelling by sea and to protecting Fiji’s pristine marine environment.

This project forms part of the Australian Government’s broader assistance to Fiji following Cyclone Winston, with funds provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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