F$12m investment in new 6,000 tonne capacity dock

The repair facilities available for superyachts in the Fiji Islands have just been increased with the opening of a F$12m (€4.9m) floating dock able to lift vessels of 6,000 tonnes.

The new dock is owned by Chacal Maritime Engineering Pte Ltd whose managing director, captain Rufus D’Cruz, spent 10 years in command of superyachts. A Malaysian national, D’Cruz has been resident and investor in Fiji for some 10 years.

The new dock is based at Lautoka, a location that was agreed for it by the Fiji Port Corporation (FPCL) and approved by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF). The decision focused on providing facilities for shipping serving the western side of Viti Levu island, the main island of the Fiji group. It also provided a balance for the other floating dock on the island based at Walu Bay in Suva, the Fijian capital. This dock has a capacity of 3,000 tonnes.

Chacal Maritime offers a fully range of dry dock and repair services and while its main volume of work comes from commercial ships and fishing vessels, it is available to work on large yachts as required. Chacal employs some 40 people but it has access to a array of marine sub-contractors which collectively have a workforce of around 1,000.

As a project and investment, the new dock has had support from a number of government agencies and local businesses. These have included the MSAF, FPCL, the Fiji Customs and Revenue Service, the Ministry of Environment and Lautoka City Council. The Fiji Development Bank has been a key driver for the project and support from other banks has been forthcoming.  

Fiji has been receiving a rising number of superyacht visits and in 2018, according to statistics Yacht Help Fiji and Port Denarau Marina, the total number of visitors comprised 554 cruising yachts and 65 superyachts. Of the latter the average stay was 79 days and the average spend was F$435,000 (€179,000) per yacht. The total revenue from the yacht sector in 2018 was F$42m (€17.3m).