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Public invited to ceremony today for new vessel — MV Manu’atele

This photo provided by the Port Administration shows the new ASG vessel MV Manu’atele, which is scheduled to sail into the Port of Pago Pago around 9a.m. today, followed by a brief ceremony at the port.  [photo: Port Administration]

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has issued a public invitation to the people of American Samoa to attend a brief ceremony today, for the arrival of the government’s multi million dollar MV Manu’atele, which will service not only the Manu’a island group but in the future other neighboring Pacific islands.

And during his inauguration address yesterday, Lolo pointed out that transportation development is one of the critical priority issues that the administration plans to further improve in the next four years.

One example, Lolo cited, is the arrival today of the MV Manu’atele followed by a ceremony at the port and the governor invited Samoa’s Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to the event.

As previously reported by Samoa News, the vessel which was constructed by Washington state-based Nichols Brothers shipbuilders to the tune of $13.6 million arrived in Honolulu on Dec. 24 from Seattle and departed the following day on the final leg of its journey and scheduled to arrive in Pago Pago around 9a.m. today, Jan. 4.

In a statement issued last Friday afternoon, the governor says the vessel’s arrival “begins the transformation of the lives of Manu’a residents and signals the acceleration in harnessing of economic benefits, which have long been neglected due to inadequate and unreliable surface transportation services.”

Furthermore, the existence of the vessel “opens new economic opportunities which will bolster our efforts to grow our economy by capitalizing on our advantages” as being a US territory South of the equator.

According to the governor, the MV Manu’atele “epitomizes the benefits” of collaboration and support of the leadership of the 34th Legislature, US Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Lupesinaosamoa Esther Kia’aina and the Office of Insular Affairs as well as the American Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA) board that made this possible.

Lolo also thanked the people of American Samoa for their prayers and patience and extended a public invitation to leaders, dignitaries and people of American Samoa to come and witness “this historical event” at the port for the vessel’s arrival.

The vessel construction project is funded with $8.6 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding from the US Interior Department and $5 million in proceeds from the ASEDA’s issued bonds.

Aside from the ten-member ASG crew members on the MV Manu’atele, there are three U.S licensed engineers on the vessel and a journeyman from the Nichols Brothers.