Update: New Manu’a ferry out of service
The U.S. Coast Guard put the $13.8 million MV Manu’atele vessel on hold after one of its two generators failed during a trip more than a week ago, according to Coast Guard and ASG officials.
Without a sail last week for the Manu’a islands, there are already concerns from residents as to when the MV Manu’atele will return to service, as the MV Sili is also down, after its generators were ruined when the vessel took on water after a valve was left open, during a recent trip to Manu’a, according to ASG officials.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele said last Thursday afternoon that during the last trip to Manu’a, “there was an issue with one of the generators on the MV Manu’atele.”
Nichols Brothers Boat Buildings (NBBB), which constructed the vessel, was notified of the generator issue and NBBB contacted the Caterpillar representative in American Samoa “to address the problem,” she said. (The generators are manufactured by Caterpillar.)
US Coast Guard chief warrant officer, Joe Twiddy, told Samoa News last Friday that it was the Coast Guard that ordered the vessel not to sail unless both generators are operational.
“The way the vessel is designed, it needs two generators for electric power, and this is especially important, if someone falls overboard and a search and rescue is carried out, with both generators operational to carry the electrical load,” he said in a brief telephone interview.
Concerning the MV Sili, Taimalelagi said last Thursday afternoon that the “engineers are working on the generator issue on the MV Sili” and hope to have it resolved as soon as possible — as well as the MV Manu’atele issue.
While one of the MV Sili generators was fixed, the government is waiting for parts to fix the other one, she said.
Asked about the MV Sili, Twiddy said a “portable generator back-up” is on the deck of the vessel and will be tested early this week. And if all works well, the Coast Guard will lift the notice to allow the vessel to depart to Manu’a.
There was no additional information available from Port Administration on the status of both ASG vessels.