3 Aug 2004

Tonga to move port for security reasons

3:23 pm on 3 August 2004

Tonga says it's moving all its international port facilities to comply with US-inspired anti-terrorism legislation.

The head of the Tonga ports authority says it's spending 9-hundred, thousand US dollars on relocating the wharf.

Etuate Sakalia says on the advice of an Australian firm and the consultant Pacific Community, all on and off-loading and packing of international services will take place in a new secure zone with quarantine and customs.

Mr Sakalia says the comparatively high price of the security measures was worth the money because the port is all they can rely on for imports and exports.

"We need to comply, otherwise we are putting the country in danger, because no more ships would come into the wharf. That's all we rely on -our port - for exports and the reliance on this importation of goods from Australia, New Zealand, not to mention the United States and Asian markets."

Etuate Sakalia says the relocation of all infrastructure and the hiring of advisors was expensive.

Tonga's outlay to meet the International Shipping and Ports Security Code is more than all other ports in the region combined.