The arrival of the MV Lady Samoa IV has been celebrated this week between the Governments of Samoa and Japan.
The vessel replaces MV Lady Naomi to service the international route between Upolu and Tutuila. It is a timely replacement given that MV Lady Naomi has been connecting Apia and Pago Pago for the past 24 years.
At a cost of close to $37.64 million tala according to Aviation Minister Olo Fiti Vaai, the vessel is part of JAPAN’S GRANT AID ASSISTANCE FOR THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
“The Government of Japan continues its commitment in its growing partnership with the Government of Samoa in achieving its development aspirations,” reads the joint press statement.
The long-awaited arrival of the MV LADY SAMOA IV was officially handed over on Tuesday 2 November through a launching ceremony by His Excellency, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, Mr. SENTA Keisuke to Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Hon. Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Afoa Vaai.
The new vessel us 48 metres in length and features an environment-friendly design with international gross tonnage of 1,030 tons and a passenger capacity of up to 297.
It is fitted with solar panels that will help supply electricity power for the passenger spaces.
The construction of the project was approved by the Government of Japan under its Grant Aid Assistance for the Economic and Social Development Programme and was launched earlier in April at the Setoda Shipyard of Naikai Zosen Corportaion, Hiroshima, Japan.
“Japan is pleased to provide assistance through its Grant Aid valued at USD 17 million (approximately SAT 50 million). The funds includes capacity building and other assistance to strengthen Samoa’s maritime connectivity.
MV Lady Samoa IV will help increase commercial and trade links with American Samoa as well as further expanding safe and effective marine transportation to other neighbouring islands like Tokelau and Cook Islands is also highly expected.
The assistance from Japan also included capacity training of 6 Samoan crew members employed by the Samoa Shipping Corporation, who travelled on board this ship all the way from Japan and assisted with the successful delivery of the vessel from Japan to Samoa.
Japan and Samoa enjoy a long-standing history of cooperation, mutual assistance and friendship since 1973.