This has been confirmed by Excil Shipping Limited, agent for Matson South Pacific Ltd, which manages the cargo vessels Olomana II and Imua that service Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Shipping manager Maru Apera said in a statement that the Olomana II’s voyage 115 had been due to arrive in Rarotonga on December 12.
However, it had been diverted to Niue to discharge cargo on the advice of the Cook Islands Ports Authority Harbour Master, so that the ship could avoid bad weather predicted in Rarotonga around that time.
Apera said the fuel tanker Boringia Swan had been diverted for the same reason and was now due in Rarotonga today. (December, 17).
She said Olomana had arrived and was currently waiting off the coast of Arorangi.
Apera said the weather was predicted to become much calmer than it had been and clearance was likely to be given for it to enter the harbour on Thursday or Friday.
Excil Shipping says wind speed and water currents at the entrance of the harbour are closely monitored by the Harbour Master.
If the wind speed is more than 10 knots, the ship must have assistance from the Ports Authority Tug boat to ensure it can safely enter the harbour.
The Ports Authority tug boat Toa has been out of action for the past few months due to mechanical issues. These arose from damage caused to the engine while the vessel was assisting with the salvage of a fishing boat stranded on the reef in Arorangi.
The Ports Authority had previously advised that the tug boat would be back in action by the end of this year. However, the now say advised that because of delays in getting an engineer here to complete the work, the vessel is likely to be out of action for most of January.
Excil Shipping and Matson South Pacific apologise to all their customers and say they are doing everything they can to ensure the ship berths safely before Christmas.