New ferry's arrival delayed
Plans for the arrival of a new passenger ferry have been delayed by negotiations over its delivery, the head of Samoa Shipping Corporation Limited (S.S.C.) has confirmed.
The S.S.C. General Manager, Leiataua Samuel Phineas said the vessel is now expected to arrive sometime in February.
The vessel came at a cost of approximately $10 million.
"Yes, it has been delayed as there have been more demands from the other side, and so we are continuing discussions as well as the fact that the crew who will be bringing in the ship will be put under quarantine when they arrive," said Leiataua.
"So we are now expecting the ship for next month."
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Dr. Malielegaoi confirmed plans for a new passenger ship to be added to the Corporation’s fleet.
Tuilaepa also revealed that the ship was supposed to arrive in the first week of January, but the delayed endorsement from Cabinet had delayed the vessel’s sailing to Samoa.
"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 existing MV Fotu-o-Samoa II.
The new passenger ship is expected to operate by April to ensure there is no congestion during the election period with the expected influx of travellers between Upolu and Savaii.
Its arrival will bring the number of ships expected to operate to three, said Leitaua, including the Lady Samoa III and Fotu-o-Samoa II.