12 June, 2012
New ferry a lifeline for remote Tokelau
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today welcomed the signing of a two year agreement with international company PB Sea-Tow to provide a safe and reliable ferry service for Tokelau.
“The ferry service between Apia and Tokelau is a vital lifeline,” Mr McCully says.
“Tokelau can only be reached by ship, and since the previous ferry, theMVTokelau, was taken off route earlier this year New Zealand has beenhelping to find a replacement solution.
“We have seen the tragic consequence of substandard vessels operating in the Pacific and New Zealand is committed to ensuring the people of Tokelau, as New Zealand citizens, have a safe way of transporting people and goods.
“The arrangement with PB Sea-Tow will see the PB Matua operating on the Apia-Tokelau route for the next two years - starting later this month.
“The charter will cost approximately $12 million over the two year period and will provide an interim shipping solution until longer term transport options can be put in place,” Mr McCully says.
The PB Matua can carry 36 passengers internationally and 50 passengers domestically. It can take up to 120 tonnes of cargo and has full maritime compliance for unrestricted use in international waters.
“The interim charter is part of a wider $17 million transport package aimed at supporting the social and economic development of Tokelau,” Mr McCully says.
“This package will fund the construction of a new passenger ferry, investigate the construction of a small coral runway on Nukunonu, and develop safe and effective ship to shore operations.”
About the PB Matua
The PB Matuais 45 metres long; it has seating capacity for 50 people in reclining airline style seats, as well as covered deck space for passengers. It can travel at 14 knots but will maintain a cruising speed of 11 knots for fuel efficiency.
The Matua has the capacity to carry 36 passengers internationally and 50 passengers domestically. 100 tonnes of dry cargo and 20 tonnes of freezer/ cooler cargo can be stored on board. The vessel can also carry dangerous goods, with 25 passengers. It is fitted with its own cargo handling equipment, including a 5 tonne crane.