Fiji Navy successfully salvages RFNS Puamau after grounding incident

RFNS Puamau was gifted from the Australian government to Fiji and commissioned last month. 3 May 2024 (Photo: Facebook / Republic of Fiji Navy)

The Fiji Navy has announced the successful salvage of RFNS Puamau, three weeks after the grounding incident in Fulaga in the Lau group. 

Following two weeks of intensive operations, the Ratu Rabici tug, with support from RFNS Savenaca, recovered the ship from the reef at Fulaga. 

“The RFNS Puamau has been towed to the safe waters of Ogea Island,” the statement reads. “A thorough damage assessment will be conducted prior to the next phase.” 

The salvage operation, coordinated with traditional protocols and the consent of the Vanua of Ogea, was aimed at minimising environmental impact and preventing further damage. The Republic of Fiji Navy expressed gratitude for the tireless dedication of the salvage teams, including local and international experts. 

“We acknowledge the efforts of the Captain and crew of Ratu Rabici, RFNS Savenaca’s ships company, Navy divers, and engineers who worked under challenging circumstances,” the Navy said. 

“Their dedication, alongside the support from partners and stakeholders, contributed to a successful and safe recovery operation.” 

The Fiji Navy also expressed sincere appreciation to the vanua for their ongoing support and well wishes. 

As the salvage phase concludes, a Board of Inquiry continues to investigate the grounding incident, aiming to determine the facts and provide recommendations.