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New MV Manu’atele scheduled to arrive this week Wednesday

The new MV Manu’atele, the government’s multi million-dollar vessel built by Washington state-based Nichols Brothers shipbuilders, is now en route on the final leg of its journey to American Samoa with an expected arrival date of early this week.

At an earlier cabinet meeting, Port Administration Director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele announced that the vessel was on its way to Honolulu, and was to arrive in the Aloha State on Dec. 24. Followed by a rest period for the crew as well as refueling and resupply of the vessel, the vessel would then head to Pago Pago.

Responding to Samoa News questions yesterday, Taimalelagi confirmed that the MV Manu’atele arrived in Honolulu at 2p.m. on Dec. 24 and then sailed out of Hawai’i on Sunday, Christmas Day at 12p.m, for its final destination the Port of Pago Pago.

Taimalelagi said the vessel, which seats 120 passengers, is now scheduled to arrive Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 9a.m. and a welcome event at the main dock is being planned.

She also said that there are a “few boxes of cargo” for local families from their relatives in Hawai’i and Seattle also on the MV Manu’atele.

“The MV Manu’atele will be blessed in Pago Pago and later in Manu'a on it's first voyage” to the island group, the Port director said and noted that Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has not stated the exact date for the voyage to Manu’a.

However, she said the voyage to Manu’a “should be soon being that we will also dedicate” the ASG Executive Office Building in Ofu and the American Samoa Power Authority’s Ofu Solar Park.

ASPA Managing Director Paul Young told Samoa News over the weekend that the Ofu solar project, was expected to be completed in February to March next year.

Aside from the ten-member ASG crew members on the MV Manu’atele, “we have three U.S licensed engineers on the vessel and a journeyman from the Nichols Brothers,” Taimalelagi said yesterday.

“The public is invited to come to the wharf and witness the arrival of the vessel,” according to the Port Director, who had been in Seattle for the last two months to ensure that the vessel was certified and safe for sailing.

The vessel construction project is funded with $8.6 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding from the US Interior Department and $5 million in proceeds from the American Samoa Economic Development Authority’s issued bonds.