New passenger ferry on the way
A new ferry for Samoa is on the way, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has confirmed, following a Cabinet decision.
The vessel will be operated by the Samoa Shipping Corporation to service the route between Upolu and Savaii.
"This ship is expected to start sailing by the period of General Election in April to ensure the demand from the travelling public is met," Tuilaepa said during his weekly programme on TV3 on Wednesday.
According to Samoa Shipping Corporation Limited General Manager, Leiataua Samuel Phineas, the vessel came at a cost of approximately $10 million.
The ferry was expected to arrive this week, however, Tuilaepa said the Cabinet had not endorsed the plan on Wednesday.
He added that the crew responsible for bringing in the vessel will go through necessary clearance measures upon arrival.
"The plan is for the ferry to be brought in by an Australian crew of six from Queensland, Australia, and they will adhere to all our border security measures in response to COVID-19, including the medical clearance, as well as required [COVID-19] tests including blood tests," Tuilaepa said.
"The vessel will travel for 12 days on sea and they will be quarantined as soon as they arrive in Samoa."
The new ship is a passenger ferry with greater car-carrying capacity compared to the MV Fotu-o-Samoa II.
This brings the number of ships expected to operate by April to three, said Leitaua, including the Lady Samoa III and Fotu-o-Samoa II.