The vessel has arrived five days earlier then 20 October then was previously scheduled.
The new vessel was build under the Japan's grant aid project, which was launched on 13 July this year in the ISB Company shipyard of Tokyo Bay, Japan.
The arrival of the vessel at the newly upgraded Queen Salote Wharf, was warmly greeted by the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, the Japanese Ambassador to Tonga, HE. Mr. Yasuo Takase, and the Hon. Nuku, Acting Minister for Transport. Also at the wharf, were the President of the ISB Company, Mr Kohei Murashima and other ISB shipping officials from Japan including Shipping Corporations and Ports Authority Board members, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, Minister for Justice and Mr. David Tohi, Secretary for Transport.
Prior to sailing to Tonga, the new vessel undergo constructions work
for piping, cabling, machinery installation, accommodation, painting, and has made sea trials runs between 24-26 August.
On 22 September, a signing ceremony was held between Tonga's Minister of Transport Hon. Nuku and Japanese officials, to mark the official handing over of the new ferry to the Tongan Government, before it made sail to Tonga.
The Minister commented that, " Tonga would now be able
to provide safe sea transportation to its outer islands that is consistent with
international best practice and to offer modern, clean and affordable shipping
services to the people of Tonga through the new ferry."
"This is an important step forward in the development, management and administration of sea transportation in Tonga and importantly provides a beautiful, safe, secure and modern ferry for the inter island shipping services in Tonga".
The voyage to Tonga of the MV 'Otuanga'ofa was under Captain Hitoshi Kumagai and he was assisted by Lietnant Uelelima Telefoni. Captain Lupeti Vi who was with the crew, left for To
nga two weeks before September 27 for health reason, and he was replaced by a Japanese, Captain Hitoshi Kumagai.
The vessel measures 53.0 m in length, 13.5 m in breadth with a total loading capacity of 520 tons. It can accommodate up to 400 passengers, and a cargo hold of 251 m2 area x 4.55 m headroom. The ferry has 2 main engines each of 1,000 horsepower to run at 11.5 knots.
An officiating ceremony is scheduled for next week to launch the new vessel MV ‘Otuanga'ofa.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010