Work on new vessel progressing well
Work on the $66.74 million tala project to replace Samoa Shipping Corporation’s MV Lady Naomi is on track despite delays associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The Corporation’s C.E.O., Papali'i Willie Nansen, in response to questions from Samoa Observer, said the project funded under a Japan government grant is progressing well.
And while it has been affected by the global pandemic, alternative options have already been put in place.
“It’s progressing well, although we encounter some delays due to COVID-19 global pandemic which has resulted with the cancellation of the consultants sight survey visit to Samoa for the vessel design,” he said.
“But alternative ways have been put in place through live teleconference (video) meetings and email correspondences to ensure the project is progressing to achieve its implementation schedule.”
MV Lady Naomi has serviced the Samoa and American Samoa route and is over 20 years old.
But the vessel’s condition has continued to deteriorate, which Papalii in an interview with the Samoa Observer last year, says has resulted in costly repair and maintenance bills paid by the Corporation in order to comply with international maritime safety requirements.
According to the Samoa Ports Authority 2017 Financial Report, passenger numbers between Samoa and American Samoa continue to increase.
In 2016 passengers arriving and departing for American Samoa from Samoa increased from 8,691 to 11,466 with cargo also increasing from 448 tons in 2016 to 531 tons in 2017.
A frequent traveler between Samoa and American Samoa, Faafetai Si’a of ‘Ili’ili American Samoa, told Samoa Observer that she looked forward to the commissioning of the new vessel funded by the Japan government.
“It would be something new to sail on a new ship and it would be something nice to boost myself to visit my relatives more often,” she said.
“That was a good initiative to get a new ship, though I haven’t really encountered any challenges with the old Lady Naomi, but yes it would be nice for Samoa to get a new ferry.”