A WORKBOAT, which costs K660,000 is now available to serve Wewak’s coastal and islands villages in East Sepik province.
Another K340,000 has been made available for “administration and operational costs”.
The boat, christened mv Sibikdan (Sepik water), was bought from a Milne Bay businessman John Wagambie, following approval by the Wewak Joint District Planning and Budget Priority Committee (JDP&BPC).
The mv Sibikdan has the capacity to load 22 tonnes of cargo and 70 passengers at any one time.
Wewak MP Jim Simatab, who is JDP&BPC chairman, presented the workboat to Wewak Islands local level government president Toby Samek at the Wewak Yacht Club last Saturday.
Mr Simatab urged the islanders to take ownership of the service, which would reduce the hardships they faced in transporting their produce to town.
He said this would not be the first time for the islanders to own a boat as there had been boats bought by former Wewak MPs.
However, due to poor management, none of these boats are seaworthy today to meet the
transportation needs of the people.
Mr Simatab said people must learn from their past failure and come up with a better management team to coordinate and manage the boat’s operation so that it operates for many years to serve the islands.
He said he would ensure that funds were made available under the district service grants (DSG) each year to sustain the boat’s operation but people must take the first step to help the management team to take care of the mv Sibikdan by observing the maritime rules.
Mr Samek said the new ship would be managed by the Wewak Island Fisheries Corporative Society.