Goundar Shipping Services apology not enough

The Consumer Council is disappointed with Goundar Shipping Services? explanation (FT 28/8/13, pg 24), for stranding consumers at Savusavu wharf earlier this month and finds the company?s apology not sufficient.

It is highly unfair for stranded consumers with valid tickets to be penalized by having to fork out extra money for unnecessary expenses, such as food and accommodation.

The Council reiterates that Goundar Shipping Services must provide compensation for these consumers for such expenses. Because Goundar Shipping Services lacks proper checks and balances to control the issuing of tickets and passengers boarding the MV Lomaiviti Princess, innocent consumers were inconvenienced.

Consumers who had purchased tickets in advance should have been given first priority. The Council fails to understand why passengers, who had not purchased tickets initially, were even allowed to board the MV Lomaiviti Princess from Tavueni?

Issues such as overbooking and overloading should have been avoided and valid ticket holders should not have been placed in a compromising situation.

In fact, the Council believes that Goundar Shipping Services is attempting to divert the attention away from the real issues by implying that they acted as per directive from the Maritime Safety and Authority of Fiji (MSAF) and the District Office Taveuni to accommodate 1000 children and adults to Suva despite a passenger capacity of 883.

How canGoundar Shipping Services decide not to follow standards, procedures and protocols in place? Inter island vessel services must not be allowed to operate anyhow.

It is high time that Goundar Shipping Services stops evading from its responsibilities and is held accountable to these consumers by providing compensation.

PREMILA KUMAR

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER