Islands group barge is off to the Bahamas

Monday June 17, 2019 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Leona Ford farewells her husband and the Layar Mas crew, now known as the MV Capt. Emmett. Leona Ford farewells her husband and the Layar Mas crew, now known as the MV Capt. Emmett.

The Cook Islands barge once named Layar Mas left our shores for the Bahamas.

Now called the MV Capt Emmett, it is understood the crew will officially hand over the vessel to a new crew in the Bahamas.

They left on Saturday afternoon, and are to arrive in the Bahamas in about a month.

The barge took around 37 days to arrive to the Cook Islands in 2016 when it was around seven years old and was worth $1.2million.

It was owned by Cook Islands Towage.

Speaking to the crew on Saturday afternoon, owner of Cook Islands Towage Malcolm Sword acknowledged the crew and explained that once they reached the Bahamas, arrangements would be made for their return to the Cook Islands.

He said the fine ship was to be delivered to a new home for a new adventure.

Sword said it would be an adventure for the crew also, as they cross to another part of the ocean where it would take 27 days to voyage and would return in about 40 days.

The Layar Mas has been a huge help to those living in the outer islands as it was used in the transportation of their cargo as well as assist in transporting government cargo for infrastructure work.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the crew is also expected to work in the new barge that government is planning to purchase.

In the recent budget announcement, it was said that government will spend $2.5 million on a new cargo ship for the outer islands.

Deputy prime minister Mark Brown said the government’s purchase of a new bulk cargo shipping vessel was intended to provide regular, affordable and reliable cargo shipping services between Rarotonga and the Pa Enua.

The finance minister said the necessity to procure a vessel arose when the government learnt the current barge was on sale.

Brown expects to purchase the new barge once the budget is passed.

The minister of Transport Robert Tapaitau was also present at the farewell.

He declined to comment stating that an official statement would be made by his ministry.

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