Government consider selling 850K purpose-built barge deemed unsuitable for Niue waters

Purpose-built barge not suitable for Niue conditions cost estimated $850,000

The minister for Infrastructure and the Department of Transport, Hon. Crossley Tatui told the Fono Ekepule (Niue Assembly) yesterday that the government is considering selling the purpose-built barge because it was found not fit for purpose.

Minister Tatui was responding to questions from Common Roll MP Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui on the update to the barge that arrived on the island in July last year.

Purpose-built in Fiji to move containers from cargo boats to Sir Robert’s wharf, the barge called Toa He Tahi (Warrior of the Sea) was finally delivered in July last year, four years after the announcement of its procurement.

It was found not to be suitable for the conditions at Alofi Bay with sources telling BCN News that just looking at the barge when it arrived they knew that it would sink and a safety hazard for the crew offloading the cargo.

In 2019, BCN News was told by Wayne Harris Dawes who was the Advisor to the former Premier the late Sir Toke Talagi, that “this barge has a carrying capacity of 56 tonnes with a dry weight of 22 tonnes.  Self draining and self propelled it is expected to benefit Niue with reducing fuel costs and time spent off loading containers.” New 800K barge

Wayne Harris Dawes told BCN that the barge was part of the New Zealand funded project to upgrade the island’s wharf facilities and “has an estimated value of $800,000 fit for oceanic voyaging.”

Last year, Minister Crossley Tatui told BCN News that the final cost of the barge was around 850K and was built by a Kiwi company based in Nadi, Fiji.

The government is now looking to sell the barge and recover the costs.

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