Wewak district now has a new K600, 000 vessel to service its outer islands.
The mv Sibikdan, a 14m small freighter with a maximum cargo load of 25 tonnes and 50 passengers, has a top speed of 10 knots.
Economically, it should run at eight knots, her captain Mark Pombuai said in Lae.
She was purchased in Alotau for K660,000 by the joint district planning and budget priorities committee of Wewak under the chairmanship of MP Jim Simitab.
Money from the transport sector fund was used to purchase the vessel to service 21 wards from the 10 main islands of Vokeo, Koil, Wei, Blup Blup, Bam and Kadovar from Schouten and Tarawai, Walis, Kairiru and Muschu from the Wewak islands.
Islanders had risked their lives travelling by motorised dinghies, islander Garry Gule said.
He added that the costs were also high.
He said the mv Sibikdan would provide safe transport at a lower cost to the travellers.
He said the vessel would be managed by a committee that would draw its membership from the islands.
She sailed into Voco Point, Lae, last Wednesday for investigation by the National Maritime Safety Authority and Pangtel checks before departing for Madang and then Wewak where she was feted to a huge celebration last Saturday.