The Pacific Schooners Limited-owned vessel is advertising for bookings to take cargo and passengers to the northern group islands plus Palmerston and Aitutaki, on a voyage departing April 6.
Barring a brief ocean excursion last October to prove it could leave Avatiu harbour under its own power, the Tiare Taporo hasn’t sailed since August 2016, remaining tied up at the port for some 20 months now.
Its stay at port included remaining at dock during an official harbour evacuation ordered last month around the time of Cyclone Gita, an action which ultimately resulted in a trespass order being served against the vessel by the Port Authority.
While that matter is currently still before the courts, with the trespass order being contested by PSL, company director Garth Broadhead says it won’t affect plans for the Tiare Taporo to sail on April 6.
“We are confident that the legal issues will be resolved, or at least a viable pathway for us to undertake a voyage opened,” he told CINews.
Broadhead added that he was “obviously pleased” to be able to initiate plans for a voyage and a return to full operations for PSL and the Tiare Taporo.
The company has recently hired a new captain, chief mate and two engineers, and has also advertised for labour to complete various maintenance tasks on board. The ship’s hull is being painted this week.
While the Tiare Taporo should soon be taking on new cargo for its planned April voyage, it was only a fortnight ago that cargo was seen being taken off the ship, having sat in the vessel’s hold for 17 months.
Broadhead said the cargo – pallets of concrete blocks and timber bound for Penrhyn, had been “inadvertently caught up in the legal proceedings around the company and the vessel,” and at the time of its unloading PSL did not have a set date for the Tiare Taporo’s departure.
“I guess people were tired of waiting and understandably so,” he added. “Ultimately, although we would have carried it for no charge, it was their choice to transfer it.
“It was well past due that they should get it back and I am pleased that they were now able to. Those people will receive credits on future shipments by way of compensation for the delay.”
The Tiare Taporo’s round-trip voyage to the northern islands and return to Rarotonga is currently planned to take 18-20 days.