Proposed Vaiusu wharf to cost $250 million tala

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 16 June 2019, 5:29PM

The proposed wharf in Vaiusu will cost around $250 million tala and will be funded by the Chinese Government.

This is according to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi recently during his weekly media program.

“The talks about a wharf in Vaiusu to be funded by Chinese were initiated by the Samoa Government not the Chinese," he said.

Discussions to build the wharf at Vaiusu began during the time of Prime Minister Tupua Tamasese Lealofi between 1970-1973, added Tuilaepa. The Samoa Government at that time engaged a civil engineer to undertake an assessment of the proposed wharf developments.

“Then Rod Keevey came to Samoa and conducted an extensive assessment and the results were comprehensive.

“His recommendation is that Samoa should invest in a wharf and it should be located in Vaiusu," said the current P.M.

According to Tuilaepa, the Vaiusu Bay is 90 feet deep and the proposed project area is not vulnerable to high waves and underwater waves, which he said is unlike the Matautu Bay. 

“However at the time in 1970, the administration then opted for the cheaper project and they invested in extending the wharf in Matautu.

“The problem with that area, this is where all the debris from the Vaisigano river comes to, including piles of dirt. That is the reason why this area will always remain shallow,” he emphasised. 

The Prime Minister further stated that in the first six months of the year, the Matautu wharf is bombarded with current swells, which is one reason some cruise ships do not consider docking in Samoa. 

“It is an expensive project and at the time when the first study came out, the previous administrations opted out. 

"If we had built the wharf in 1972, it would have cost maybe $10 million but now we’re looking at $100 million USD ($250 million tala), but if we wait for the next 20 years surely, it would cost $5 billion tala.

“And this means, we can’t delay this project any longer,” he added.

Tuilaepa said some six years ago the strong swells forced a vessel on to the reef where it was stuck for four months.

“The Samoa Shipping Services will attest to the fact, it was miracle that boat slowly slid back into the ocean. 

"This was after the Samoa Shipping Services visited the Carmelites and asked them to pray for a miracle, as no one was able to provide any solutions on how to get the boat back into the water.

“And miracles don’t happen often, and if another incident occurs and we pray to God, he’ll probably say we gave you the brains to use and you have China that can assist,” he said, while giggling.

According to the Prime Minister, the Japanese denied the Samoa Government’s request for assistance with the Vaiusu wharf project, but assisted with the extension of the wharf at Matautu.

“It is good to announce that China will build the wharf and I challenge those people who are complaining to come and build the wharf.

“They concluded their first assessment and this year is the final assessment and then they will make a final decision. However, they are confident, they will fund the wharf for us,” he added.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 16 June 2019, 5:29PM

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