Plans are in place to replace the MV Lady Naomi that has been servicing the Upolu-American Samoa route for twenty years now.
This was confirmed by the General Manager of Samoa Shipping Corporation, Papalii Mapuilesua Willie Nansen.
“There is already a proposal in place to have a new ferry to replace MV Lady Naomi,” he said.
“The MV Lady Naomi will also be used to travel between Savai’i and Upolu once its services end and it will be helping the MV Lady Naomi III and other ferries if needed.”
During the Festive season, some members of the public raised concerns about not having enough ferries to cater for people travelling between Upolu and Savai’i.
Onoafaese Salemuliaga from Paia told the Samoa Observer that getting a new ferry is paramount.
“The small ferries are no longer safe because once it rains; there is nothing for passengers to use as shelter,” she said.
“Those ferries should only be used for our vehicles to be transported to Savai’i.
“I do not travel between the islands using the MV Fotu o Samoa and Samoa Express; I usually travel on the MV Lady Samoa III because I feel a lot safer on that ferry.
“The government should look at getting a new ferry.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Enoka Pese.
“There should be a new ferry to provide quality and safe services because there is no need to have expensive ferry fare and our safety is at risk,” said the 57-year-old.
However, Papali’i said the service during the festive season went well.
“The usual problem that we face is that our people still do not plan ahead by not doing their bookings.
“They have that mentality that they can just go to the wharf and they will be given the chance, however we have to give priority to those who booked their vehicles first.”
Figures from the Samoa Shipping Corporation show that between 19 December 2017 and 1 January 2018, some 34,509 passengers and 3,640 vehicles used the Savaii-Upolu service.
During those times, the Samoa Shipping Cooperation scheduled extra trips to accommodate everyone.
Papali’i said their commitment is to provide the best service for Samoa.
This is also why renovations being done to wharves are critical.
“The Mulifanua Wharf is slowly turning out to be well organized and structured with spaces,” he said. “We’ve got businesses that can cater for the needs and wants of tourists as well as waiting passengers.
“We want to see Samoa Shipping Corporation to be self sufficient in having the ability to rely on its own to offer and provide good facilities, improved terminals and safe vessels for the people of Samoa to enjoy. Yet, the bottomline is to ensure S.S.C. continues to deliver to the people of Samoa safe, reliable and affordable shipping services.
“The terminal renovations are a facelift which will further add value to our service and bring new businesses for convenience and comfort of the travelling public who will be visiting the domestic port 365 days a year.”