The 20th Samoa International Game Fishing Tournament is to be launched tonight at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
But the organisers of the tournament are sweating on the scheduled arrival of the “Imua II” vessel that is supposed to bring to Samoa 12 of the boats for the tournament from New Zealand.
“It’s unfortunate,” Marty Maessen told the Weekend Observer.
Mr. Maessen is the former President of S.I.G.F.A and a member of the organising committee.
“We’re all virtually sitting around and praying that this ship is not going to be delayed any further. The “Imua II” was supposed to bring along twelve boats from New Zealand, right in time for the opening.
But the plans have hit a snag and the S.I.G.F.A is praying that the boat will arrive tomorrow. The original ship’s arrival in Apia was delayed due to technical problems which occurred during the voyage from New Zealand.
“It had to go back to the harbour in New Zealand and there was a rope around the propeller, so that had to be fixed to ensure the continuation of the journey,” Mr. Maessen explained.
“But there was also another problem that appeared. At the end, they swapped all of our boats and the containers on to another vessel, so instead of coming from New Zealand directly to Samoa, it went via Fiji.
“It took an extra amount of two days for the time there, dropping off cargo and taking on new cargo to finally make its way to Samoa on Sunday.” With this unexpected delay appearing so shortly before the long planned tournament’s opening ceremony, there is not much more to be done for the anglers than to wait. “We just have to live with it. Until we’ll see this vessel arrive in Apia harbour, we’re all sitting on tenterhooks for now,” he said. Due to the delay, the tournament’s schedule has had to undergo some changes. The competition is set to start on Monday with the Ladies Tournament.
The open tournament instead is delayed to Tuesday and will last until Friday.
But the tournament’s official opening ceremony, which starts this afternoon on 4pm at Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, will still mark the beginning of the traditional event.
The venue was chosen because of its cultural meaning. “Some of the visitors of our tournament come from New Zealand or even further away and they have never experienced Samoan culture. They will also have a chance to actually visit the museum, which is certainly a great memory to take home for them,” said Mr. Maessen.
The competition’s opening also carries on another tradition linked to the game fishing tournament.
“Each of the boats is given a name as well as number. There will be an open bidding in which the person with the most money placed on one boat will become the owner of that boat for the time of the tournament. This is really a gamble because you never know how the boat is going to do at sea.”
With the absence of twelve boats in mind, this afternoon’s bids will be even more riskier for the anglers, as long as the vessel has not appeared in Samoa. But Mr. Maessen is optimistic.
“We know at least between now or in the worst case Monday to Monday evening, this ship will arrive.”