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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Port Vila Presse, Aug. 20) - International
cruise ship company P&O is negotiating with landowners for permission to
bring the "Pacific Sky" to Malakula and the Pentecost Islands in 2004.

The P&O agent in Vanuatu, Captain Claes Bjornum, confirmed
to the Presse this week that the Pacific Sky will visit Baie Omo in South
Pentecost, the port where Queen Elizabeth of England came ashore in 1976; as
well as Walla in Malakula and Luganville in Santo.

To allow the 1,500 passenger cruise ship to anchor at these
ports, some repair and construction work is to be undertaken, not only in
Malakula and Pentecost, but also on Ambae, Ambrym and Maewo.

Concerning the Ni-Vanuatu crew on the cruise ship, 7 out of 40
candidates who went through 11 weeks of training in hospitality and sea safety
at the Vanuatu Maritime College in Santo last June boarded the Pacific Sky on
the 12 August to join the buffet section, and another 8 will be joining them
when the Pacific Sky revisits Port Vila at the end of this month.

"These new crewmembers have signed six months contracts
with P&O, to replace 30 whose contracts will have expired soon,"
explained Captain Bjornum.

The Pacific Sky is currently visiting Noumea, after which she
will dock in Fiji and finally Vanuatu, at Port Vila, Mystery Island in Tafea,
and Champagne Beach in Santo.

In June this year, P&O Cruises Australia announced plans to
add a third cruise ship to its fleet with the intention of boosting tourism in
Vanuatu. The addition of the third ship is expected to increase P&O Cruises'
annual Australian cruise passenger numbers from 61,000 to 150,000.

"We are looking forward to introducing more Australians to
the delights of Vanuatu and her people when the new ship joins our fleet,"
said Gavin Smith, P&O Cruises Australia Managing Director.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Carnival cruise ship Pacific Princess
will join the popular Pacific Sky, offering year-round South pacific Cruises.

August 25, 2003

Port Vila Presse: www.info.vu/presse/index.shtml


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