SHIPPING difficulties experienced by Rennell and Bellona Province people over the years may now be over.
This followed the commissioning of their newly purchased ship at the Point Cruz wharf in Honiara on Sunday.
The vessel, MV Avaikimaine, was bought from Japan using funds the province secured under the government’s National Transport and Infrastructure grant.
According to the Rennell & Bellona Constituency Development Officer (CDO) Timothy Johnstone the vessel cost $7million.
On Sunday Rennell & Bellona communities residing in Honiara and the public took time to be part of the commissioning and launching programme.
They also toured the ship while berthing at the Point Cruz wharf.
“This is history for Rennell & Bellona Province,” one constituent said.
“We thanked our Member of Parliament Dr. Tautai Angikimu’a Kaitu’u for taking the initiative to secure funds for the purchase of the ship,” he added.
Dr Kaitu’u said, in the past their ancestors used to navigate and sail across the Pacific thousands of miles using stars but now they are proud to own a modern ship with modern navigational equipment’s.
“Rennell & Bellona is the smallest province in the Solomon Islands.
“This is the most expensive vessel and relatively new due to the fact that it was built in 2002,” he said.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was the guest of honour who congratulating Rennell & Bellona people and the province for the historic and great achievement.
He urged everyone to take responsible and take good care of the ship.
Mr Sogavare said, DCC Government is happy and is committed to continue its support towards the Province in realizing its aspiration.
MV Avaikimaine means, “Love of Rennell & Bellona”.
It is owned by the Rennell & Bellona Constituency and will operate under a registered entity called Rennell & Bellona Shipping Ltd.
Initially, the vessel will be servicing Renbel Province and later making other scheduled trips to other provinces.
Mr Kaitu’u thanked the DCC government for recognising Rennell & Bellona constituency foremost need through the funding.
By STEPHEN DIISANGO