Delivering an essential transport vessel to the Catholic Diocese of Gizo in the Western Province is a need.
Gizo Diocese is an area with close to one hundred islands spreading over 300km of sea, has been given a mandate to become more involved in providing and running schools and training centers, and currently has 14 building projects underway.
A recent example of a project completed by the Diocese, build largely with voluntary by Bishop Luciano Capelli sdb and his volunteer friends along with the people of Shortland Islands is the Good Samaritan Mini Hospital at Nila Parish which will service a population of 5000 people in this remote area of scattered islands.
In the Western Solomon, freighting materials for building projects such as schools, churches, technical training centres and health centres has become increasingly difficult.
Most small commercial vessels that operated in the Solomons before the Independence have now long gone, no longer available to move cargos and passengers.
For most people the only transport option between islands is a small open boat with outboard motor.
Regrettably the Diocese’s 70 year old wooden vessel (St Peter) is now in an uneconomic state to move cargo (though it has done many hard miles shifting building materials since an engineer and electrical overhaul by New Zealand Mahitahi Catholic oversea volunteer, Doug Buchan, who is now assisting this project) and replacement vessel is urgently needed.
Galilee is a 14 meter steel ex-fishing trawler, has recently been purchased in Auckland by the Catholic Diocese of Gizo from donations.
Galilee Built in 1964 and is fitted with an old but wonderful English Gardner Diesel engine which runs like clockwork and should allow the Bishop to service the islands under his care.
There is still some work to do to get Gaillee ready for the trip to the Gizo Diocese in the Solomon Islands.
With a service speed of 7knots, the voyage to Gizo from New Zealand will be 2300 nautical miles. Chatting through email with one of the hard working volunteer Gordon Banfield, he said “This is a major project and should bring long term service to many in the islands of Gizo Diocese. Whilst we seek additional funding we also ask for prayerful support for this project”.
The Ship is expected to arrive in Gizo sometimes in August.
By Nascia Pae
Diocesan Media & Communication Coordinator
Catholic Diocese of Gizo