Rare absence from port for Tiare Taporo

Friday August 10, 2018 Written by Published in Environment
The Tiare Taporo being repainted at the Port of Avatiu in March this year. 18080917 The Tiare Taporo being repainted at the Port of Avatiu in March this year. 18080917

Notably absent from the port of Avatiu at present is a vessel which at one point threatened to become a permanent fixture after being left immobile at the wharf for almost two years.

The cargo vessel Tiare Taporo is reportedly in dry dock in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Harbour master John Jessie said the controversial ship had departed Rarotonga on June 21, with Ports Authority general manager Bim Tou adding he understood the ship was in Pago Pago for a dry docking survey.

Earlier this year Pacific Schooners Ltd director Garth Broadhead said the company was “forging ahead” with plans to ready the Tiare Taporo for trade by March 31. He made this claim after telling the court in December that PSL would resume service in January this year, as part of a creditors’ compromise approved in court by Judge Hugh Williams.

Under the compromise agreement the company said it would make repayments to creditors owed more than $2.4 million, through a forecast 10-12 voyages a year.

Broadhead said the company should generate “sufficient profit” by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

PSL was given one month to give funds to “immediate priority” creditors including crew and staff, a $10,000 partial settlement to fuel supplier TOA Petroleum and a $4,000 partial payment to Ports Authority, owed more than $36,000.

Once operations resumed, payments were also to be made to TOA Gas, Raromart and Prime Foods and other prioritised creditors, including BCI bank and CI Cruise (ANZ), both owed around $200,000.

In an affidavit also filed with the High Court in Rarotonga in mid-March, Broadhead said he and fellow directors Daniel Moreland and Michael Henry had made arrangements “for crew, parts, safety equipment and other matters” to prepare the vessel for trade.

Later that month PSL advertised for bookings to take cargo and passengers to the northern islands and Palmerston and Aitutaki, on an 18 to 20-day voyage departing Rarotonga on April 6.  News that the Tiare Taporo had left Avatiu on April 4 was followed by businessman Brett Porter telling CINews he planned to lay a complaint with the police against PSL after a cheque for $10,000 given to him by Broadhead had been dishonoured.

He said the money was part-payment for debts owed to Apex Agencies, trading as Toa Petroleum and Porter Group Holdings Ltd, trading as Toa Gas.

A check of the Port of Pago Pago website yesterday revealed no information about the Tiare Taporo’s current status, except to confirm it was there.

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