By PISAI GUMAR
TREASURER Patrick Pruaitch has called on the Morobe Coast Shipping Services company to provide reliable services along the Mamose coastline extending to West Sepik province.
Pruaitch said the liquidation of Lutheran Shipping had created a vacuum in transportation services to maritime communities in the Mamose and New Guinea Islands.
The Government had pledged K10 million to Morobe Coast Shipping Services in 2014 for its operations. The first K5 million was allocated in 2015.
Company manager Mawason Namon presented the audited financial report of the first installment to Pruaitch during the official launching of mv Morobe Rainforest II in Lae on Wednesday.
The mv Morobe Rainforest II can carry 150 passengers.
Morobe Coast Shipping Services is owned by Finschhafen, Nawaeb, Huon Gulf, Kabwum and Nawaeb districts.
Pruaitch assured the company officials and shareholders that a further K2 million would be released next week.
“Launching Morobe Rainforest II signifies a remarkable testimony in shipping services initiated by districts creating partnership in the maritime businesses,” he said.
“It’s not easy for the Government to find resources to ensure services are available for the people.
“The Government ensures policies are in place while providing resources to the private sector, enabling them to create businesses, create employment and services to benefit people.”
He said the then Somare government allocated K3 million to Huon Gulf through former MP Sasa Zibe when it realised the critical transport needs of coastal people from Morobe South to Finschhafen.
Former Morobe governor Luther Wenge allocated K100,000 and the O’Neill-Dion government provided K7 million and the vessel was built in New Zealand at a cost of K10.1m
Additional costs incurred under the leadership of incumbent MP Ross Seymour were legal bills (K400,000), ship manning (K300,000), insurance (K80,000), other expenses (K2m), Customs (K1.1m) and out-of-court settlement to Bau Transport (K1.6m) which totaled K16.6m.
The costs incurred were due to a four-year court battle over the vessels’ ownership.
By PISAI GUMAR