The government of Tokelau has moved to reassure her travelling community, in particular her people, that the MV Mataliki (pictured) meets international safety at sea standards and is currently delivering reliable and efficient service.
The point was made in a statement issued yesterday following questions about the ferry raised in New Zealand.
Last month, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, David Shearer, questioned New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Tupai Murray McCully over the state of the ferry.
“The new ship Mataliki which just arrived in Apia, Samoa has been described as a ‘fiasco’ by shipping insiders,” Mr. Shearer said.
“The boat was supposed to cost $8 million and be delivered a year ago. Instead it’s only just arrived and is reported to have blown its budget.
“More seriously, the ship failed its original sea trials. It has reportedly been built over its designed weight, meaning it will not be able to carry the tonnage it was built for. It will also not travel to Niue as it was originally intended. International industry sources have described the Mataliki as ‘a dog’ and suggested it will be lucky to last six years in the tropics servicing the Tokelau Islands.”
Yesterday, a statement issued by Jovelisi V. Suveinakama, General Manager, Apia (Tokelau Public Service), refuted the claims.
“The Mataliki received exemplary SOLAS ratings on delivery and its passengers have enjoyed sailing on her with positive public feedback,” the statement reads.
“The MV Mataliki is part of a bigger transport strategy that covers the safe transfer of passengers and cargo (including dangerous goods) inter island and to and from Tokelau.
“Tokelau is working closely with New Zealand to ensure that the total transport strategy is in place to meet the needs of our people and our aspirations for self-reliance.”