17 Dec 2013

Wind could power Tokelau's new ship

7:08 pm on 17 December 2013

The administrator of Tokelau says the New Zealand territory will be getting a new passenger ship in 2015, that is likely to be equipped with marine kites to harness wind power.

Jonathan Kings says the 43-metre long ship will travel to and from Samoa and be available every day of the year.

Mr Kings says the Tokelau community had a major say in the design of the purpose-built vessel.

He told Amelia Langford the territory has needed a replacement ship for over 10 years.

JONATHAN KINGS: This is a new ship for Tokelau, the only access to Tokelau is by sea and so this is of huge importance to Tokelau. Tokelau has been needing a new ship for many years and it's a really exciting development that now we are getting a ship that is purpose built for serving the people of Tokelau. It will have capacity for 60 passengers and some cargo to meet the capacity as well which will meet the day to day needs of the people of Tokelau.

AMELIA LANGFORD: So before this ship how were people in Tokelau travelling?

JK: At the moment there is a ship that has been charted called the PB Matua which is being charted to provide the service. Before that Tokelau had a vessel called the MV Tokelau which reached the end of its useful life in 2011 so this replaces the MV Tokelau. It will be available 365 days of the year for Tokelau and at the moment they generally have a fortnightly service, or at least fortnightly service and that's likely to continue, it also has the capacity to be stationed up at Tokelau so it provides services between the atolls. The ship will be built by December 2014 and then we'll be doing sea trials and there'll be a delivery voyage, it will probably go into service in the first quarter of 2015.

AM: It's using some interesting technology, the marine kites.

JK: We are looking at the possibility of using marine kites, that's being tested at the moment and it really depends on whether or not it's feasible. But if feasible that is an exciting development, they're made by North Sails in Auckland and they assist the efficiency of the vessel by in effect dragging the vessel along.

Jonathan Kings says it is a matter of priority to New Zealand and Tokelau that the vessel provides a safe and pleasant voyage for passengers.