6 Jul 2010

Tonga interim ferry due back in service

2:57 pm on 6 July 2010

Tonga's domestic interim ferry, the MV Ajang Subuh, will be back in service tomorrow after being out of commission for more than a week.

The ferry has been servicing the outer islands in Tonga for more than two months but could not sail due to engine problems.

The ferry, which was brought in after last August's sinking of the Princess Ashika, will be back to full service on Wednesday night.

The acting secretary of the ministry of transport, Sione Akau'ola, says it will be a relief to people to have the interim ferry back up and running, although most people have been largely unaffected by the breakdown.

"When the interim ferry was broken down it's not really affected the normal route schedule to the two nearest because the next scheduled [trip] is on the 21st of July so it's back to service before that date. Which means what happened to the ferry has not really affected the schedule to the most outer islands."

Sione Akau'ola says a permanent ferry, which is to be funded by the Japanese government, is expected to arrive in Tonga in October.