MV Liahona II emergency: Brighton Holdings refute meal claims
21 April, 2019, 8:15 am
BRIGHTON Holdings (Fiji) Limited has refuted claims that passengers on board the MV Liahona II were not provided meals when the vessel developed trouble en-route to Kadavu on Thursday night.
This issue surfaced after mother of three Meresiana Vasunicakau claimed there were no meals provided during their 18-hour ordeal at sea.
They were on their way to Buliya Village to spend Easter with family.
She said her three children were forced to eat leftover snacks, which they had bought in Suva before boarding the vessel.
“We never bought much food but only snacks because we expected the trip to be short but things changed when the ramp fell off the vessel,” Mrs Vasunicakau said.
“Our schedule time of arrival at Naqara should have been around 7am on Friday morning because we left Suva at around 12am but unfortunately we reached Kavala Bay at 6.30pm.
“The children were vomiting because it was very cold and they were also hungry. While people were enjoying Good Friday, we were suffering at sea trying to figure out how we were going to survive because we were at risk.”
She added they had to buy bottled water for $5 when their children were thirsty.
“This is the worst Easter for me and my kids; I am never going to risk my family’s lives travelling on this vessel ever again.
“There were a lot of children below the age of five and they were starving. The only thing offered to us was hot tea,” Mrs Vasunicakau said.
In response, company director Ulaisi Baivatu said the passengers were provided with dinner and breakfast according to their fare.
He said the chef could not cook because he was also on standby with other crew members.
“Everybody was on standby, no one could cook, and even the chef was on the deck trying to be on standby because the ramp was missing. But then a few hours after we reached shore, then we started cooking and everybody ate.”
Mr Baivatu said certain passengers were trying to create a scene because there was no food.
The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji is yet to release a statement.