29 Jan 2013

Tonga Transport Minister refutes newspaper's safety claims about wharf

5:29 am on 29 January 2013

Tonga's Minister for Transport says the ministry has thoroughly assessed the safety of a new wharf for cruise ships in Nukualofa and refutes claims by one local paper about its poor construction.

The paper, Kele'a, has published claims that parts of the wharf appear to be collapsing.

But the minister, Samiu Vaipulu, dismisses any criticism of its construction, saying the wharf was built by Fletcher contruction to comply with international maritime organisation standards.

"TONGA TRANSPORT TP"

Because we finished the wharf, completed the construction, and we had to do our surveys and everything to make sure that it's safe. And then we got it all, like the depth and everything, we had to do that, and security fences, according to IMO rules, and we've got that all in place and then that's when we opened. 24

Samiu Vaipulu says the wharf officially opened in December 2012 and at least two cruise ships have already docked there.

He says Vuna wharf is right in town, which will help boost tourism, and replaces an old one that dated back to the 1900s, but had been damaged by an earthquake in the 1970s.