The two companies in the running for the pilot subsidy are Taio Shipping Services and General Transport.
The results of the tender, for procurement of four voyages to the northern islands over eight months, were expected to be announced “shortly,” the statement said. PSL’s vessel the Tiare Taporo is still lying idle at Avatiu wharf, despite company director Garth Broadhead’s assurances to the Avarua High Court last year that the vessel would resume operations in January 2018.In mid-December Broadhead confirmed in a conference call to the court that he expected the vessel would resume operations in January, subject to PSL being able to source a crew. The ship would be back in business no later than the end of March, he added.
The plan to recommission the vessel was part of a creditors’ compromise deal approved by Judge Hugh Williams.
PSL reportedly owes more than $2.4 million, and hopes to make repayments through a forecast 10-12 voyages a year.
Under the repayment scheme, money was to be paid within one month to priority creditors including crew and staff. A $10,000 partial settlement was to be made to TOA Petroleum, which is owed more than $55,000 and a $4,000 partial payment given to the Ports Authority, said to be owed more than $36,000.
The compromise deal specified that once PSL actually resumed services, payments would also be made to TOA Gas, Raromart and Prime Foods amongst numerous other priority creditors, including BCI and CI Cruise (ANZ), both owed around $200,000.
In December 2016, Broadhead said the company hoped to make around eight trips to the outer islands in 2017, but none eventuated.
The vessel last sailed to the northern group in June 2016 and since August that year has only ventured out of the harbour once, making a brief foray out of Avatiu in December so PSL could prove to the Ports Authority that the vessel could be sailed out of the harbour under its own power in an emergency.
On its way back into the harbour the Tiare Taporo collided with the Taio Shipping Services vessel Moana Queen, causing minor damage to the Taio ship.