2 Mar 2006

New Zealand to consider proposal for new shipping arrangements for Tokelau

4:24 pm on 2 March 2006

The New Zealand government is expected to consider a proposal in coming weeks that it provide a multi-million dollar purpose built ship for Tokelau.

It is the result of reviews conducted last year which concluded that the MV Tokelau, which presently services the three remote atolls, is close to the end of its useful life.

The New Zealand administrator of Tokelau, Neil Walter, says two options will be presented, including a continuation of the current operation of the MV Tokelau alternating each fortnight with a charter from Apia.

"Or, and this is really the recommendation of the shipping review team, investing in a more purpose built vessel for Tokelau that would more squarely meet its requirements, whether you are talking about the surveillance of its exclusive economic zone, medical evacuations, passenger and freight transport including the need to have regular reliable shipping around the three atolls."

Neil Walter says such a boat could cost up to seven million US dollars.