Hold on Manu'a; Shipping solutions in the works
The Governor’s Office has confirmed that a local businessman has proposed the leasing or renting of his vessels to ship goods and other merchandise to Manu’a island residents, who are now without ocean transportation as the MV Sili is grounded at this time for repairs. Repairs that Samoa News now has been told could be just around the corner.
Samoa News learned early this week that businessman Carlos Sanchez, who also owns fishing vessels, has offered to assist the government by leasing one of his vessels, which will help transport goods and supplies to the Manu’a islands, because there is no specific time frame for the MV Sili's return to service.
Responding to Samoa News questions, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said yesterday, “It is true that Carlos Sanchez has made a proposal in an attempt to help the government out in terms of addressing the pressing needs of the Manu'a residents with the downing of the MV Sili.”
“The offer was $8,500 for a trip to Manu'a. The offer is being discussed with the Port Administration director,” said Iulogologo, who noted that the Samoa government owned vessel Fotu-o-Samoa is available “but funding is the major constraint at this juncture.”
In past years, a charter for the Fotu-o-Samoa would be around $20,000- $25,000 and the past administration would resort to the charter when there were no other options available, and especially when there is pressing needs for Manu’a- such as school lunch supplies.
Iulogologo said that information received by the Governor’s Office is that the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t have any problems with the use of Sanchez’s vessel as long as no passengers are transported.
At this point, “Gov. Lolo and the Port Administration director are exploring different temporary options for Manu’a, while the MV Sili is awaiting repairs,” said Iulogologo.
Human Resources Director Le’i Sonny Thompson, who was assigned by the governor to coordinate a vessel to ferry cargo for Manu’a told Samoa News that “because, it is a fishing vessel, no passengers are allowed, just cargo (material, supplies, dry goods and refrigerated).” He confirmed that he inspected the vessel and it is good condition and can carry up to 80 tons of cargo.
Responding to Samoa News questions, Coast Guard Lt. Eric Runyon said yesterday that he is aware that ASG “is looking at interim solutions to move cargo” to the Manu’a islands but he does not have the specific details on who is to provide that service. Runyon is the supervisor in charge of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Unit in the territory.
On Tuesday, Samoa News was told by Shipyard Service Authority chairman David Robinson that they are looking at three weeks (21 days) time to get the MV Sili on the slipway but “it all depends on how fast Port Administration will get all of the spare parts needed.”
“We don’t want to get into this issue of scheduling the vessel for the slipway and find out that the needed parts have not arrived yet,” Robinson said in a brief phone interview.
In a telephone interview with Sanchez, yesterday afternoon, he told Samoa News that the Port Administration Director, Taimalelagi Claire Tuia-Poumele said that because of the seriousness of the need for transportation to Manu’a, a cargo voyage using one of his vessels is slated for Tuesday or Wednesday next week.
However, a charter of the Fotu-o-Samoa is still on the table due to the passenger restriction of his vessel —it will depend on how long the MV Sili repairs will take to complete, Sanchez said.
Coast Guard chief warrant officer Stan LeCain told Samoa News on Wednesday that the MV Sili’s propellers and rudders, located under the vessel, were damaged after hitting a reef last week at Faleasao Harbor.
Sanchez, during the telephone interview, explained that he was asked for help by Port with the MV Sili repairs and that he and Sean Gregg and Gregg’s daughter, Valerie, have been working on it — on a volunteer basis — for the last several days, while it’s sitting in the water at the Port dock. The work involves working under water (diving), removing the damaged parts, and assessing for needed parts, according to Sanchez.
“The two rudders have already been dropped and floated up — they are now sitting on the dock next to the boat, and Christinna [Sanchez’s wife] has ordered the necessary parts, which will arrive this Monday,” Sanchez said. He continued, they will be dropping the damaged propellors on Monday, to prepare them for shipyard work — “of course this means the shipyard must be prepared in 10 days or so to accept the MV Sili on its slipway.”
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.