Penrhyn boat trip still unconfirmed

Saturday December 21, 2019 Written by Published in Outer Islands

Former Penrhyn MP Wilkie Rasmussen is looking forward to spending Christmas in his home island this year.

 

However, the Rarotonga lawyer is still waiting to hear whether a boat will be able to take him and other travellers to the isolated northern island before Christmas Day.

Rasmussen said the government had contracted a Tonga-based ship to transport the Northern Group passengers and their cargo.

However, nothing had been confirmed as to when the boat would arrive and when it would leave for Pukapuka, Manihiki and Penrhyn. Hopefully it would be Monday or Tuesday, Rasmussen said.

Cook Islands General Transport was organising cargo freight, with a Monday deadline.

Rasmussen said he hoped to travel on the Tongan vessel, but if he had to, he would fly with Air Raro.

Food supplies on the island were getting low and he had been receiving phone calls about the problem, which was compounded by the fact that no cargo ship had called at Penrhyn for some time.

Earlier this week, Taio Shipping’s Josh Taio said passenger transportation to the Northern Group would no longer be a viable option for the company

This was because of new regulations and restrictions on passenger numbers which meant the company’s boats could now only carry a maximum of 12 passengers at a time on one vessel.

Manihiki government representative Justine William said the island had enough supplies for the Christmas period.

For the Southern Group, Mauke Island government executive officer Royston Jones said fuel had been expected to arrive by boat but he had been advised there would be a delay. It would hopefully arrive sometime next week.  

Most of the island’s food supplies had already been flown in by Air Raro.

Harbour master John Jessie confirmed no domestic vessels would leave for the outer islands this weekend.

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