The shipping woes of the people in the New Guinea Islands will soon be at an end following the official handover of MV Chebu on Sunday to the Bougainville Government.
MV Chebu is part of the newly created Chebu Shipping Company, a joint venture between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Hakau Investments Limited, a subsidiary of businesses owned by local Businessman, Sir Henry Chow.
ABG President Chief Dr John Momis has described the new ship as the biggest impact project undertaken by the ABG to date following the Bougainville Crises.
“This ship is something all Bougainvilleans can be proud of as it shows our willingness to progress and reconstruct Bougainville,” President Momis said.
“I would also like to thank all those responsible for making the ship a reality especially the ABG official, Hakau investment and the Shunhai Ship Building Company for building the vessel,” the President said.
After viewing the vessel the President and Sir Henry were mutually happy with its completion and its specifications as it suits the maritime needs of the people
The President also revealed that after consulting Sir Henry they have decided to purchase another vessel for the Chebu Shipping Company in the near future.
The vessel has been built to specifications suitable for Papua New Guinea and will carry at 370 passengers including the crew and offers the latest in maritime technology that will guarantee safe passage for those wishing to travel the route.
The K15 million vessel has also been designed to meet National Maritime Safety Authority regulations such as proper safety equipment for each passengers and creature comforts including flat screen televisions in the main seating area and cabins and life jackets for every passenger and crew.
MV Chebu will be travelling the New Guinea Islands route from Buka, Rabaul, Kimber and Lae, a very lucrative route that has not been serviced since the tragic Rabaul Queen.
The joint venture company involved with the ABG in the Chebu Shipping Company, Hakau Investments limited has expressed its satisfaction at the completion of MV Chebu.
PNG entrepreneur Sir Henry Chow who owns Hakau Investments has expressed his gratitude to the Shunhai Ship Building Company for its workmanship for the last 18 months.
Sir Henry explained that the project is a joint venture between the ABG and the Chow family who have an immense experience in providing maritime services in Papua New Guinea as they own Coastal Shipping amongst their properties.
Sir Henry said he had accepted an invitation ABG President Chief Dr John Momis’ proposal to enter into a joint venture with the ABG to build a ship to service Bougainville and the New Guinea Islands.
He said Hakau Investments had done the initial design for the ship which was then given to a Singaporean firm to add the final touches to its design which has been used to complete the vessel.
Despite the vessel’s completion there have been minor technical and bureaucratic details that have to be sorted out before the vessel is set to sail for Papua New Guinea waters.
Sir Henry has given his assurance that the MV Chebu will be able to sail to PNG in the coming weeks once the technical issues have been resolved.
“Bougainville at this time desperately needs the services of a reliable ferry service one which the Chebu Shipping Company will graciously meet,” Sir Henry said.
“We are very confident this ship will provide a good service to the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea,” the Knight remarked.
The commitment by Sir Henry to go into business with the ABG came after the tragic loss of 300 lives, most of whom were Bougainvilleans, aboard the ill-fated MV Rabaul Queen.
Sir Henry was one of the first respondents to the needs of the survivors, providing support in cash and kind and also helped the ABG look after Bougainvilleans involved in the shipping mishap two years ago.
Sir Henry Chow was knighted by the Queen of England for his philanthropy to the people of Papua New Guinea over the years.