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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Tonga Port Authority GM Assures New Wharf Is Safe
Two cruise ships have already docked safely at Vuna wharf

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 28, 2013) – The general manager of Tonga’s Port Authority is assuring the public that a new wharf is safe, despite some vocal concerns about parts of it collapsing.

The Vuna wharf in Nukualofa opened at the end of 2012 for cruise ships to dock at, and was built at a cost of more than US$17 million, funded by a loan from China.

But Mosese Lavemai says any photos of the wharf looking incomplete relate to a separate stage of the development for a yacht marina.

He says funding is still being sourced for the marina, but insists the cruise ship part of the wharf is safe.

"There is no problem with Vuna wharf, the main structural wharf, is completely safe. That incomplete project is yet to open for public, and for yachts. So I think it is a misunderstanding there, trying to differentiate the two projects. As I said (with) the question of safety, yes for the main structure of the wharf where the cruise ship berth, it is 100 percent safe."

Mosese Lavemai says since the wharf opened, two cruise ships have docked there so far, with another one, the MS Europa, due tomorrow.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, construction on the new wharf terminal at Neiafu began with a ground-breaking ceremony last week. The terminal is being built to facilitate the MV 'Otuanga'ofa, which provides transportation services to Tonga's outer islands.]

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