1 Apr 2010

Controversy around King Tamatoa ferry in French Polynesia continues

6:26 pm on 1 April 2010

Controversy continues around a large ferry brought to French Polynesia from the Mediterranean to connect Tahiti with other Society islands.

The King Tamatoa is now plying the route in an apparent promotion as its owners are awaiting clearance for it to go into service.

The French high commission in Papeete says for it to be allowed to sail commercially, it has to be taken off the international French register and be put onto the Tahiti registry.

Last year, ship operators suspended all services for a day in protest at the government granting the new ferry a licence.

Meanwhile, legal action is being taken by descendants of King Tamatoa who say the vessel cannot be named after him without their consent.

One of the descendants, Tautu Tauotaha, has told Tahitipresse that if the ship operators want to buy the name, it will cost them 3.3 million US dollars.