16 Oct 2012

Cooks hopes for Tokelau ship to service northern islands

3:05 pm on 16 October 2012

The Cook Islands Ministry of Transport hopes a ship chartered by the New Zealand government to service Tokelau can also provide a link for the northern Cook Islands.

The PB Matua was formally chartered by the New Zealand government in June to replace the MV Tokelau in an interim move to improve shipping to the atolls.

The vessel can carry 100 tonnes of dry cargo and 20 tonnes of frozen or cooled cargo, and has capacity for at least 50 passengers.

The Transport Secretary, Ned Howard, says they want to investigate whether they can use the vessel during its down time.

He says they are still talking through timetabling and costs.

Earlier this year the Cook Islands government made arrangements with the Samoa Shipping Company to service the northern group but Mr Howard says this arrangement was plagued with payment and logistical problems.