TOKELAU LEADER REITERATES CONCERNS OVER FERRY

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Ulu calls for ‘immediate solution’ for transport ship

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 8, 2012) –

Tokelau’s Ulu says, although ferry sinkings in other parts of the Pacific are causing his people to worry about using their country’s ageing vessel, they have no choice.

Tokelau’s people, who are New Zealand citizens, depend entirely on the MV Tokelau for transport and supplies and the New Zealand government has been working on a replacement vessel since 2005.

Keli Kalolo says travelling on the ship, which is more than 20 years old, is especially worrisome in view of the recent sinking of a Papua New Guinea ferry and Tonga’s Princess Ashika tragedy in 2009.

"There is a fear among the leaders that we don’t want that kind of situation to happen in Tokelau, although we still need a boat. It’s good to replace this boat, but we need an immediate solution to this."

Keli Kalolo says the council will be taking its preferred options for a replacement ferry to Tokelau’s New Zealand-based administrator later this month.

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