“The ship has been ready a long time – two months ago,” said Taio. “But then there was the insurance. They have their own surveyors, and it’s been difficult for us to get insurance cover for the ship.”
That final barrier has almost been overcome now however, and Taio estimates the Grinna should be in Rarotonga in “about three months”.
“We just cleared the insurance for the ship – it’s been confirmed now and everything, so just waiting for the documents,” he said. “The good news is it’s all been cleared and she will be leaving Denmark very, very soon.”
When it actually does depart, the voyage from Denmark to Rarotonga will take the Grinna a little over a month.
Once here the $1million vessel is expected to begin plying her trade amongst the northern islands, carrying cargo, passengers, and possibly opening up tourism opportunities in the northern group with its 14 “luxury” cabins.
The 38-metre, dual-engine former research vessel can carry more than 280 tonnes of cargo and is equipped with a crane that can lift more than 20 tonnes.
Originally built to withstand icy conditions, it also has a 15mm steel hull and can hold 50 tonnes of fuel. Having two Mercedes engines also makes the ship less vulnerable to breakdowns at sea.
But the Grinna’s biggest selling point is the number of passenger berths, which will make the journey north far more comfortable for locals and visitors.
“It will be mainly for passengers – and tourism as well,” said Taio. “This is kind of a new introduction into the service, having travelling comforts for tourists.”
“All the appliances on there, they’re bloody expensive equipment, because it used to be owned by the German government, this ship, so they spent megabucks on it,” he added.
The Grinna will be a welcome replacement for the Moana Nui, still stranded in Nassau after running aground there in January last year.
As with the Grinna, Taio says it is an insurance issue that is holding up progress on that front.
“We’ve been waiting for our insurance company to come and help us, but it looks like we have to do a bit of fighting first before we know where we are,” he said.