The 34-metre-long Norwegian-built ship left the seaport town of Esbjerg in Denmark on April 14 and pulled up alongside Avatiu Wharf not long after 10am on Saturday, July 14.
Owner Tapi Taio of Taio Shipping said he was happy the Grinna was finally here, and revealed that he has some special plans for the new boat – if everything works out.
“Yes, I’m happy she’s here – because when a ship is travelling around the world and when the engines are running 24 hours a day and costs are ticking over and wages and all this – nothing is free, you know?” said Taio.
As for when he expected to have the Grinna into service, Taio said, “We’re not really rushing it – we’re going to do it slowly”.
“We don’t really know yet what she is going to be doing. Because with cargo I think the two ships we have and the barge over there are able to do that.
“There’s not much cargo really – we have a small population, and this ship is kind of a different thing we’re going to try out, and we don’t know if it will work, you know?”
Asked for more details, Taio explained that he hoped the Grinna might be able to capitalise on the tourist trade and interest in the northern islands.
“We’re looking at maybe carrying some retired people around the north, and some people who have been dreaming to go over there and all that,” he said.
“You know, they’ve got lots of money stacked away, and maybe they can pass it over to us so we can give them a good trip around the north islands. Something different, you know?”
Taio also said that a partnership with Air Rarotonga might even be on the cards, with Taio Shipping taking tourists north by sea and Air Raro returning them to Rarotonga by air.
“We’re doing all our costing, and looking at everything – maybe working with Air Raro and seeing what we can do between ourselves and them.
“We have to look into it – this is something new. You have to do your homework – for us, this is a risk, but we like the challenge. And if you lose along the way, well at least we have come and tried it, you know?”
Taio added that at the moment there was not that much cargo around for his other vessels, now that “everybody’s over here for the celebration”.
That said, the Lady Moana departed Rarotonga on Tuesday, bound for Aitutaki to bring over a load of cargo for Te Maeva Nui.
“Plenty of paua hopefully!” laughed Taio, possibly referring to the controversial paua harvest on Manuae that was recently sanctioned by the Aitutaki Island Council.
The Lady Moana is due to return to Rarotonga today, and also ferried over passengers and cargo from Palmerston on Saturday.
The Palmerston cargo included more than 20 freezers full of fish – at least a few tonnes worth, Taio estimated.