11 Feb 2006

Tokelau referendum officials set to use Samoa ferry despite arrests of crew

8:12 am on 11 February 2006

Tokelau's adminstrator says he is confident they will still be able to use the ferry, the Lady Naomi, during the weekend long voting on an Act of Self Determination.

Yesterday, police in American Samoa found several sacks of marijuana on board the boat in Pago Pago and arrested several crew.

There have been unconfirmed reports the Lady Naomi would be impounded, but the general manager of Tokelau's public service, Falani Aukuso, says he's certain the boat will be ready to take more than 30 officials to monitor voting on the three atolls.

"Certainly we have had no advice up to now that we are not going to go on the Lady Naomi. It's a very good ship, we have really good relations with the Samoa Shipping Corporation and they don't let us down."

Falani Aukuso says the voting begins on Saturday local time, with special overseas votes in Apia.