Nafanua II leaves for Australia

The Nafanua II guardian patrol boat has begun its journey to Australia for repairs as it left the Salelologa wharf on Monday morning, after running aground and sustaining serious damage last month.

The Australian-donated naval ship left Samoa early Monday morning together with an Australian salvage crew.

Last week, the Nafanua II patrol boat had been successfully salvaged and towed away from the Salelologa reef after being stranded on the outskirts of Savaii for just over a month.

The Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo told the Samoa Observer that there are currently investigations that are ongoing conducted by the Samoa Police Services (S.P.S) and the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure.

"There is also a requirement under the Maritime Law that is administered by the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure, to do their investigation in terms of Maritime," Agafili told the Samoa Observer on Monday.

"Now that includes all ships if there are any situations like this that occur. That requirement of the law has been activated as well."

Agafili said that there is a Police investigation in relation to the crew and how the vessel ran aground early August.

In terms of the boat's damage, they are being assisted by their partnership with Australia which will employ technical expertise to inspect the ship's condition.

"And that's why it is being shipped there, being towed to Australia so that they can undertake the whole damage assessment," he said.

Agafili is unsure about how long it will take until the Nafanua II will arrive in Australia.

"The boat that came from Australia, the tug boat which came from Australia took about three weeks and I suspect that it's going to be the same duration of their journey back to Australia," he said.

Asked what will happen to the ship once the repairs are complete, Agafili explained that it will be decided by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet once they get a report from Australia.

He emphasised that there are bilateral arrangements between the Governments of Samoa and Australia covering such instances.

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