MV Manu‘atele, American Samoa Government's New Vessel, Arrives

Official christening ceremony to take place next week

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Jan. 5, 2017) – The government’s new vessel MV Manu’atele sailed into Pago Pago Harbor after 8:30a.m undera cloudy morning with a little rain, and the main harbor was already packed with VIPS, guests and members of the public.

The main dock was decorated the night before with a “Manu’atele” sign on the wall entering into the harbor. The $13.6 million vessel had anchored outside of Pago Pago Harbor around 7a.m. as the MV Sili, accompanied with two tugboats, took Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga outside of the harbor to board the MV Manu’atele on its official sail into the Port of Pago Pago.

Also along the route into the harbor were the two fautasi, “God is Great” and “Sinapioa”, as well as two canoes crewed by members of South Pacific Water Sports (SPWS).

Just before 9a.m came the sound of the horn from the Port Administration building signaling that the vessel was heading into port. It was closely followed by horns of the MV Manu’atele and MV Sili as well as horns from vehicles parked on the dock. For more than 30 minutes the echoed sound of horns continued non-stop in the bay area, and guests on the wharf watched the MV Manu’atele dock to applause from the crowd, which included Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and lawmakers.

Also in attendance at yesterday’s arrival ceremony, was Samoa’s Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, and masiofo Filifilia as well as Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. The delegates from Samoa returned to Apia late yesterday afternoon.

As part of his Samoan remarks, the governor again expressed sincere appreciation to the Samoa government for their continued support when it comes to ocean and air transportation for American Samoa — referring to the MV Lady Naomi and Polynesian Airlines.

Lolo then presented the Head of State; the American Samoa flag flown on the MV Manu’atele from Washington State to the territory and Tuilaepa was given the United States flag that had flown on the vessel.

The governor told the audience that the 13-member crew is composed all of sons of American Samoa, who are also from Samoan families with ties to sailing and fisheries. He thanked the crew, headed by Master Captain Loleni Faiai, for their hard work in getting the vessel home to the territory.

Lolo told the crew that “if you can sail the vessel from Washington state to American Samoa, that is a sign that sons and daughters of American Samoa can control and sail its own vessel, take control of its future for the benefit of the people.” The remarks prompted applause from the audience.

According to the governor, some have thought, “our own sons would not be able to sail the vessel” to the territory and the American Samoan crew has proven those people wrong.  The comment followed another round of applause.

Each crewmember was presented a “gift” from the government and Lolo said it has nothing to do with their pay, but it was a gift to show “our appreciation”.

ASG also expressed sincere appreciation to the non-Samoan crew who sailed on the vessel — the three U.S licensed engineers and a journeyman from the Nichols Brothers.

Faiai gave brief remarks in Samoan and recalled that he was surprised when then Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele asked him if he could bring the vessel home. Faiai said he became emotional at the request; and told Taimalelagi that there is nothing difficult under the sun, “if you trust in God and the right people are chosen to bring the vessel.”

The Master Captain then thanked Taimalelagi, who has since been appointed as Port acting director, for her trust in him as well as the crew, who are all sons of American Samoa.

He thank the crew for their support, hard work and being honest and the results is that they made it home safely. He also thanked the people of American Samoa for their prayers and he hopes that one day, the vessel along with the crew will in the future sail to Samoa.

The official christening ceremony is set for next week Monday.

The Samoa News
Copyright © 2017. The Samoa News. All Rights Reserved

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