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Samoa alia and crew end up in Pago Pago after losing their way at sea

The fishing alia that drifted from Samoa and ended up in Pago Pago harbor, where it docked behind TAOA. The vessel is now in the custody of DPS Marine Patrol unit, while crew are staying in Lauli’i, awaiting travel documents to return home.  [photo by AF]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An alia fishing vessel discovered at the Pago Pago dock area behind the TAOA building early Saturday morning at about 3 a.m. is now in the custody of DPS Marine Patrol Unit. Apparently, the alia with its three-member crew aboard drifted away from Samoa on Friday last week — after losing their way home

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Police Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson confirmed the report.

“DPS officers who responded to the call searched the vessel for any contraband or illegal drugs and nothing was found inside. The three fishermen who were aboard the vessel are in good health and are staying with a family in Lauli’i to await their travel documents before traveling home to Samoa,” Le’i said.

The police commissioner said that the owner of the fishing vessel has been contacted, and he’s expected to arrive on island sometime this week to take his boat back to Samoa.

DPS also contacted the Immigration Office in regards to the three individuals who were on the vessel, and they are working together with the Samoa Consulate General’s Office in preparing travel document for the crew.

According to the police report, the crew stated that the vessel embarked from Poutasi/ Aleipata village to fish on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 about 8 a.m.

However, when they prepared to return, they could not see any lights or land and realized they were lost. The operator of the vessel then let the boat drift on its own because they had little gas left and he hoped to reach land.

It was when the observed lights nearby and discovered that they were heading to Tutuila island that they used the last of their gas to reach Pago Pago harbor. As soon as they docked, they approached an individual named Tuiasea of Pago Pago and requested help.

The DPS officers, the Marine Patrol Unit, and the Vice & Narcotics Unit responded to the call. The Immigration Office was contacted for assistance in documenting the crew, who had no identification on them.

The fishing vessel belongs to Samoa businessman. Luafutu Faamoana of Poutasi, Samoa.