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Officials unclear how reduction will affect country

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 28, 2012) – There will be a reduction in shipping services to the Cook Islands following the announcement by the Pacific Direct Line shipping company that the MV Forum Pacific will no longer sail there.

In a statement Pacific Direct Line says they haven’t been able negotiate a charter extension for the vessel with Reef Shipping and April will be its last voyage to the country.

The company says it was hoping to extend the charter through till August when the Rarotonga wharf extension will be completed, and review its options then.

It hasn’t been able to find a suitable vessel to use in the interim but it has secured an agreement with Reef Shipping to provide space on the MV Reef Express, which has a direct Auckland to Rarotonga route.

The Cook Islands secretary of transport Aukino Tairea says the government is still considering what effect a reduction in shipping services will have on the country.

He says they are still in discussions with Reef Shipping and Pacific Direct Line.

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