13 Feb 2008

Cook Islands' Northern Group in trouble if shipping crisis not sorted - Manihiki MP

10:44 am on 13 February 2008

A Manihiki MP says the Northern Group in the Cook Islands will be in trouble if the country's shipping crisis is not resolved soon.

The Cook Islands government is considering allowing another private shipping operator to service the outer islands after one of the two ships that serviced the islands became stranded.

It's also considering putting aside 2 million dollars to buy a ship in Norway or establishing a joint shipping venture with Samoa.

Manihiki MP Apii Piho says the Northern group has less than three months before it's supplies are exhausted.

"T he needs in the northern group have been food supply, and fuel to keep the generators going. The short term too may be that they might have to cut back on it's hours of operation if it gets critical. The length of fuel supply out there is an area of great concern to the government. I think that they'll be all right for fuel for maybe 6 weeks to 2 months and then could be hitting a critical point after that."

Manihiki MP Apii Piho.