TEMOTU Province is expecting the arrival of its new ship in June this year.
This was confirmed by Temotu Province Premier Clay Forau in an interview with Solomon Star yesterday in Gizo, Western Province.
Western Province is currently hosting all our provincial premiers who are in Gizo to attend consultation on the proposed Federal Government system.
The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) is facilitating the high level consultation.
Mr Forau told Solomon Star that a shipping committee that deals with the selection, purchasing and delivery of the new ship is in Honiara to facilitate the arrival of the new shipping vessel.
He said the committee is working hard to ensure the vessel arrive in Solomon Islands by mid this year.
“Hopefully by June this year the new ship should arrive,” the Temotu Province premier said.
Although the Premier did not reveal details of where the boat is acquired, its cost and the boat’s specifications, he confirmed that the committee had looked at a number of designs but is yet to select one.
He said recently an image of a landing craft was posted online as one of the boats the committee is considering.
However, the Premier said the final selection will be decided by the committee.
The process to acquire a vessel for the province started in June last year when the provincial government signed a deal with the National Government through the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) which provided $5million for the province to acquire a new vessel.
A month later in July, payment was formally handed over to the provincial government which formed the committee to start scouting for a new ship.
Speaking at the 39th Second Appointed Day of Temotu Province in Lata last year, Mr Forau said having a ship will definitely address the difficulty Temotu Province is facing with access to timely transportation.
He said with reliable shipping services, businesses and investment activities will also increase in the province.
“Big business houses in Lata with very large stocks of basic merchandise get depleted even in a week without a ship to bring new stocks,” Mr Forau said then.
He said the only way to connect the province to Honiara is to have a ship and he acknowledged the DCGA for the generous $5million funding support.
The shipping project was in response to a request by the Provincial Government through Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare when he visited the province in 2020.
Prime Minister Sogavare heeded the call and pledged to deliver the request.
MID Permanent Secretary Stephen Maesiola said the government through his ministry recognized the province’s shipping needs for both passenger and trade.
“I am very pleased that through my ministry, Temotu Province will now be able to purchase their vessel to serve its people,” he said.
Temotu Provincial Secretary (PS) Allan Agassi thanked the national government through MID for the positive response to the request by Premier Forau and the people of Temotu Province.
“On behalf of the premier and people of Temotu Province, I would like to thank the National Government through MID that the government recognized the need of a remote province like Temotu in terms of shipping services.
“There is nowhere else the province can look to for assistance but only the National Government and for this we are very pleased,” Agassi said.
By MOFFAT MAMU