Penrhyn Christmas out

Tuesday December 24, 2019 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Children play in the water at Te Tautua village on Penrhyn. 18082620 Children play in the water at Te Tautua village on Penrhyn. 18082620

Weather prevents Tongan ship from going to northern islands in time for big day.

Continuing bad weather means visiting groups from New Zealand and Australia who planned to spend Christmas Day in the northern islands aren’t going to make it in time.

Former Penrhyn MP Wilkie Rasmussen, who has been looking forward to travelling with family members to Penrhyn, said one group hoping to travel to the island would have to wait until Boxing Day for the arrival of a ship from Tonga.

He said the group, from overseas, had been stranded in Rarotonga for some time. Their fares had been paid to Taio Shipping in advance. However, because of new regulations that restrict the number of passengers Taio Shipping Services vessels carry, none of Taio’s boats would now be travelling to the northern islands Rasmussen said their travel would also depend on the weather.

Transport secretary John Hosking confirmed a Tongan vessel would take passengers to the Northern Group however, but said the vessel was presently unable to sail here because of a high-pressure system bringing high winds to the Southern Cook Islands.

A trough of low pressure just north of Samoa and stretching towards Tahiti and the Tuamotu archipelago, was also causing problems.

“South of this trough, east to southeast winds are expected to be 20 to 25 knots with rough seas with moderate easterly swells,” he said.

Most weather prediction models indicated similar weather for at least three days, Hosking added.

“So, the weather is affecting shipping for arrivals and departures beyond anyone’s control.”

When it does eventually arrive, the Tongan vessel is expected to also take passengers to Pukapuka and Manihiki.

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