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NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 16) - Two yacht charter companies in Vava'u, Sunsail and The Moorings are to merge and form the largest yacht charter fleet in Tonga, to be called "The Moorings Tonga."

The Sunsail charters will cease operating in Tonga and officially join forces with The Moorings Tonga on 1 March 2005. The Moorings has been operating in Vava’u for about 20 years.

Shane Walker, the former managing director of Sunsail Tonga, who will take over as the Managing Director of The Moorings Tonga, said that the merging of the two fleets, "will see The Moorings Tonga operating 23 yachts and catamarans, the largest fleet of charter boats ever operated in Vava’u. It is a larger fleet than any fleet currently operating in Tahiti."

Shane has been operating in New Zealand and Tonga for about nine years with a Sunsail franchise. He is the sole owner of New Zealand Boat Charters Ltd., which holds 85 percent shares of Sunsail Tonga Ltd. The other shareholder in Sunsail Tonga Ltd. is David Hunt. Sunsail was the strongest competitor to The Moorings Tonga.

Shane said that he decided to merge with The Moorings Tonga because the recent offer from The Moorings was a better offer than the one that he originally had with Sunsail International.

"I have already re-branded my New Zealand company from Sunsail over to The Moorings, we did this in early November, and Sunsail is no longer represented in New Zealand."

Shane said he was purchasing the plant of the Moorings base, but they retained their head lease on their property and buildings. "I will be keeping the two bases as we will need them for the fleet size. It gives me the opportunity to have one base and dock doing the maintenance and cleaning and the other dock/base for the clients to start and finish their charters from."

"We will be keeping all of the staff as well. We have some extremely well skilled people working with us in these businesses and we do not want to loose any of them."

Shane said that The Moorings Tonga aims to be the best charter base and destination that The Moorings offer in the world.

December 17, 2004

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