MV Sili’s Repair Timeline Uncertain In Am. Samoa

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MV Sili’s Repair Timeline Uncertain In Am. Samoa Vessel is the main transport for residents of Manu’a island

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, March 21, 2013) – American Samoa’s Shipyard Service Authority is working with the Governor’s Office and Port Administration to get the MV Sili up on the slipway for repairs, after the vessel sustained damage from hitting the reef at Faleasao Harbor last week.

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) chief warrant officer Stan LeCain said yesterday that the American Samoa Government (ASG) hired two divers to survey the bottom of the vessel after it returned from Manu’a and found that both propellers and one rudder were damaged after hitting the reef.

He said in a brief phone interview that the cause of the accident is still under investigation by the Coast Guard.

LeCain, who is with the USCG Marine Safety Detachment Unit in Pago Pago, said that due to the damage the vessel needs to go on dry dock for repair, but it’s unclear when that will happen due to the busy schedule at the shipyard.

He also says that ASG has identified some propellers on island, while some parts will need to be ordered off island; however, "we really won’t know for sure what’s needed... until the vessel goes to dry dock" for a full Coast Guard inspection.

Shipyard Service Authority chairman David Robinson says they are looking at three weeks time to get the MV Sili on the slipway but "it all depends on how fast Port Administration will get all of the spare parts needed."

"We don’t want to get into this issue of scheduling the vessel for the slipway and find out that the needed parts have not arrived yet," Robinson said in a brief phone interview. "We are working closely with Port Administration and the Governor’s Office on this important issue for Manu’a residents."

Robinson said the shipyard already has a full schedule with 14 longliners scheduled to go up on the slipway for repairs. He said one vessel was scheduled to go off the slipway yesterday and another one goes up today.

"So we are hoping that Port Administration and the Governor’s Office identifies and orders the spare parts needed to be on island in time to get the MV Sili up on the slip when another vessel comes off the slipway," he said.

He again emphasized that while the shipyard has a full schedule, it will do all it can to accommodate repairs to the MV Sili, so that residents of the Manu’a island group are not without ocean transportation service for too long.

How long that is, no one is able to say.

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