Recent pictures from the Northern Group island, captured by drone, show that the ship, which ran aground in January 2017, is already partially blocking the narrow passage and any further movement could effectively cut the island off.
The Department of Transport confirmed it had been in contact with the boat’s owners, Taio Shipping, about moving the vessel and said it was concerned about the threat to the harbour entrance.
It said the threat to the passage was just one of “many things” that concerned it about the boat’s predicament.
CINews has been told that the vessel has “moved significantly” over the past year, despite efforts to secure it.
One concerned local, who asked not to be named, said: “It poses a real threat to the livelihood of the Nassau people if it falls in the passage. And it’s a question of when, not if, that happens.”
They also laid the blame at the door of the transport ministry rather than the shipping company, saying it was up to the government to ensure action was taken to protect the island.
Tuakatau Wuatai of the Nassau island administration said residents on the island, which has a population of just 78, were worried and wanted the boat moved.
“It is a very big problem,” he said. “If it blocks the passage we can’t unload any cargo, and we are also worried as it is cyclone season.”
Last year Taio Shipping told Cook Islands News that salvage plans for the Moana Nui would depend on the outcome of the insurance claim, which remains ongoing. But company director Tapi Taio said he was hopeful a conclusion could soon be reached.
The company initially said it hoped to refloat the vessel and have it repaired in American Samoa. However, Taio Shipping recently acquired another ship, Grinna, which will soon set sail for the Cook Islands from Denmark, leaving question marks over the Moana Nui.