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Shipping staff save sinking tugboat

The Samoa Shipping Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Leiataualetauā Samuel Decca Phineas, has confirmed a maritime incident last week at Satitoa wharf where staff managed to save a sinking tugboat. 

An official, who did not want to be identified, said a tugboat docked at the wharf on the southeast coast of Upolu sunk last Tuesday possibly causing an oil spill. 

But Leiataualetauā flatly denied those reports, though he did confirm the near sinking of a tugboat docked at the wharf.

"No it didn’t sink, it was half-submerged. The water managed to collect within the tugboat which caused it to [become] half-submerged," said Leiataualetauā in an interview last Friday. 

"We managed to contain the situation; we had carried out procedures involving chemicals to evaporate the water collected in the tugboat.

"No one works or is on those tugboats, but there are people who work on the wharf such as the securities so no one was hurt or anything."

The tugboats at the wharf were bought from American Samoa, by Leiataualetauā's predecessor Papalii Willie Nansen to dredge domestic wharves. The tugboats and barges were used to place the dredging machines on.

"At the moment there are no plans for those tugboats as the boats have aged and won’t be considered useful anymore to carry out any operations," Leiataualetauā said

"What we plan to do is to dismantle all the useful parts which we can use for other things and then probably use the old tugboat as an artificial reef."

The Satitoa wharf was a $20 million tala project which the Government had promised would fetch millions in revenue from trade and tourism from American Samoa. 

However, the wharf is no longer in operation, according to comments made last year by Papali'i, the former C.E.O. of the S.S.C. 

Papali'i, when commenting on the wharf, said that the corporation tried its best to generate revenue from the facility but could not make it viable.

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