5 Jun 2002

Cooks shipping company continues to reduce services

4:49 pm on 5 June 2002

The managing director of Taio Shipping in the Cook islands is calling on the government to contribute to the costs of servicing the outer islands.

Tapi Taio, who's also an MP for Rarotonga, says they've got one ship tied up at the wharf and their other is making fewer trips because it's uneconomic to do any more.

He says many people have left the outer islands to live overseas so there's less cargo and less business but fuel prices have risen higher and higher.

Mr Taio says some of the islands in the northern and southern groups now only see a boat once every three months or once every six months.

"Government has to look at doing something covering otherwise we just close our ship and walk away. This is supposed to be a responsibility for government as I feel. Before there was some business there but now there is no longer business because the population is depleted, its now a matter of service so we need the government to put something in"

Mr Taio says Palmerston and Nassau could lose out on boats servicing their islands altogether.

The government has established an inter-island shipping services committee to look at the issues.