BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
DEPARTING RAMSI Maritime Advisers assistance to Solomon Islands Maritime and Safety Administration’s (SIMSA) MRCC with an old Land Cruiser before Christmas 2017 makes work easier.
This is for the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) watch keeper to get transport to and from their duty roster.
It also means SIMSA now has a vehicle that is capable of launching and retrieving the “Lady Jane”, one of their floating asset in Honiara that can be used for “Search and Rescue” (SAR) purposes.
According to SIMSA’s Acting Director Captain Tim Harris, “Lady Jane” which is powered by two 150 HP Outboard motors will only be launched in extreme circumstances.
“The boat is kept on a trailer in SIMSA’s Compound and should be launched if there is an emergency situation in the inshore area around Honiara,” said Captain Harris.
However, Captain Harris said that the boat is a gift from a donor project (nothing to do with SAR) that finished in 2012, and SIMSA has no established position for a dedicated boat skipper to look after it, or fuel allowance specifically for the SAR boat.
“Until very recently SIMSA did not have a vehicle strong enough to launch it or trailer it out of the water,” said Harris.
“We requested from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) a Toyota Hilux Double Cabin utility vehicle with a tow bar to launch the boat and pull it out of the water but we were only given a single cabin Hilux.
“The first time we tried to retrieve the “Lady Jane” from water, the clutch on the vehicle burned out. That was two years ago.”