The MS Artania from Germany visited Nuku’alofa today with over 900 passengers and 500 crew.
Two cruise ships from Germany visited Nuku’alofa on January 28-29. MS Columbus II was the first to visit the capital for the new year on Monday January 28, while MS Europa stopped over for a day visit today before departing for Fiji.
The new Vuna Wharf welcomed its first cruise ship, the Ocean Princess this morning with over 700 passengers mainly from Australia. Photos by Linny Folau.
HM King Tupou VI unveiled a plaque and cut a ribbon to open a new Vuna Wharf, reconstructed with a $32 million pa’anga loan from China, in time to welcome its first cruise ship, the Ocean Princess tomorrow Tuesday 11 December. The new wharf is expected to help drive the economy by attracting more cruise ships to Nuku’alofa.
The Vuna Wharf reconstructed at a cost of TOP$30 million is ready to be handed over to the Government of Tonga today, August 14, but no date has been set for when it will open for business.
If you have been wondering about the two brownish steel sculptures that have been erected on the entrance to the newly restructured Vuna Wharf, Professor ‘Okusitino Mahina from the National Public Art Programme has the answer, “they are artistic impressions of the beautiful maiden Hina and her beloved pet eel, and one is called Hinavakamea, Hina-the-iron-boat and the other, a mirror image of Hinavakamea, is called Tunavakamea, Tuna-the-iron-boat.”
A plan to launch the newly reconstructed Vuna Wharf by the late King George Tupou V on 18 April to coincide with the arrival at the new wharf of its first cruise ship has been postponed to June, according to Mosese Lavemai, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nuku’alofa Port Authority.
The Nuku’alofa Central Business District CBD is like a town that is getting ready for a party, new buildings, new roads, new car park, and even a new wharf, and all that we are waiting for now are for the guests to arrive. Six years after riots destroyed the heart of Nuku’alofa on November 16, 2006, the reconstruction work funded by an TOP$118 million loan from China is expected to be completed by March 31 this year.
The opening date for the new Vuna Wharf, reconstructed at a cost of $30 million and scheduled for early 2012, remains uncertain, with work still to be done around the wharf site before it can open for business. Mosese Lavemai, the CEO of the Nuku’alofa Port Authority, said on February 1, that although the reconstruction of the actual wharf was completed ahead of schedule in December 2011, additional work needed to be completed around the wharf before a date is set for an opening.
The $30 million reconstruction of Vuna Wharf in Nuku’alofa has been completed 77 days ahead of schedule, and is now ready to be commissioned and to welcome the first cruise ship visit in early 2012.