PITCAIRN GOVERNOR MEETS WITH TAHITI VICE PRESIDENT

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 30) – Pitcairn Island Governor Georges Fergusson discussed tourism-oriented ship visits with French Polynesia Vice President Temauri Foster Monday—the British official's first contact with the new Tong Sang government.

Although a courtesy visit, the governor emphasized the British government's concern for the 50 inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, most of whom are descendants from the original population, the 18th Century mutineers from the H.M.S. Bounty and their women from Tahiti.

Two British-government sponsored investment projects are underway on Pitcairn Island, the governor said. They involve the construction of a breakwater to protect the area where cargo is unloaded from long boats and the construction of a new power station.

Gov. Fergusson, who is based in New Zealand, said both projects are aimed at developing economic activity niches linked to tourism, arts and crafts or fishing. The middle term objective is to allow the islanders to once again take charge of running Pitcairn Island, he said.

Vice President Foster said the Tong Sang government confirmed Tahiti's continued support of the people living on Pitcairn Island. He said Tahiti's government was open to all initiatives contributing to strengthening the cooperation ties and friendship between French Polynesia and Pitcairn Island.

The famous island is located more than 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles) southeast of Tahiti, but has neither a port nor an airport. One of its main accesses from French Polynesia is via the island of Mangareva in the Gambier Islands. Mangareva is 1,650 kilometers (1,023 miles) southeast of Tahiti.

The Papeete-based cargo ship Taporo VIII conducts five trips a year from Tahiti to Pitcairn Island. An international agreement covering this relationship includes tax-free fuel for the Taporo VIII's voyages. Upon arrival off Pitcairn, the cargo from the Taporo VIII anchored at sea is transferred to longboats for the trip to shore.

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