To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 21 October 1987
The government’s controversial luxury boat, Lady Samoa, has been sold for “just over a million Tala,” according to the general manager of the Western Samoa Shipping Corporation, Ray Bancroft.
The boat back on Friday to “basically” the same people “we bought it from,” Boat Torque Cruisers of Perth, Western Australia.
It is bought by Wavemasters International of Perth which is owned by the same man who owns Boat Torque Cruisers.
A team from Wavemasters are here to ferry the boat back.
Bought about two years ago for about T$1.2 million, the Lady Samoa has been having problems because of its high running costs and its unsuitability for open sea sailing.
Bancroft said the boat will be refurbished but its new owners and used on a service within Perth.
Meantime, the government’s shipping corporation is being re-organised he added.
And part of that reorganisation entails the returning of the money from the Lady Samoa’s sale to the government.
When the boat was bought, no funds had been made available for it.
The Treasury Department then made funds available for it.
Bancroft said with the Lady Samoa gone, the Queen Salamasina will be assisting with the servicing of the Mulifanua-Salelologa route during the weekend. The Puleono and Salafai will maintain the service during the week.
The Salamasina is sailing to Pago twice a week on Tuesday and Thursdays.
But because both trips have been half-full since the Polynesian Airlines cheap $71 return fare was introduced, the boat’s service would be cut to one trip a week starting in early November.
Polynesian Airlines’ cheap fare was to end on 10 October but it has since been extended to the end of the month.
Salamasina’s return fare to Pago is $40 and the fare to Savaii from Mulifanua on all the corporation’s ships is $4 one way.
In July next year, the corporation’s new ferry to be given under Japanese aid, will arrive.
A Japanese builder is here this week to have final discussions on the ferry’s specifications, said Bancroft.
He asked the travelling public for their “assistance in the next nine months” until the new ferry arrives.