The Cook Islands government has received a plan from a New Zealand company for the concept and design of a purpose built boat to meet the needs of the widely scattered islands in the group.
The Transport Minister, Tangata Vavia, says a new vessel with passenger facilities is needed to replace the cargo boat that currently carries people from the northern islands to Rarotonga.
He says a request for tenders for a detailed plan has gone out to bidders locally and internationally.
"Once we have that plan it's going to go back to Cabinet with the final plan and whatever the costs the tender would show and from there the governement would need to make a decision."
Mr Vavia says tenders are due in June and the likely cost of a new boat is around ten million dollars.