Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Louisiana shipyard to certify the MV Sili to carry passengers between Tutuila and Manu’a.
“The MV Sili was certified by the U.S. Coast Guard before it left Louisiana and a stability letter was issued,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “However, when the ferry arrived in American Samoa and was inspected, a discrepancy was found in the paperwork that the Naval architect submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard.”
“According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Naval architects hired to conduct the incline experiment upon which the stability letter was based submitted paperwork which included graphs showing water tight bulkheads. When the U.S. Coast Guard compared the paperwork to the actual interior of the vessel, it was noticed that there are tonnage bulkheads in place rather than water tight bulkheads.”
“This discrepancy makes the stability letter invalid meaning the MV Sili cannot carry passengers until this matter is resolved. The U.S. Coast Guard informed ASG of this on August 13, 2004. While ASG has not contacted my office for assistance, I learned of this when Samoa News published its story last week and, today, my office contacted the U.S. Coast Guard in American Samoa as well as the shipyard in Louisiana,” the Congressman said.
“A conference call is being set up for tomorrow between the shipyard, my office, the Naval architect and the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington DC and I am hopeful that we will be able to quickly resolve this issue so that the MV Sili can set sail. It is also my understanding that there is a problem with the doors and ASG is working to resolve this now.”
“As a result of my efforts to include $10 million for American Samoa in the Tax Act of 2003, I was able to set aside $4 million for a ferry to provide the people of Manu’a with safe and reliable transportation. Although the local government did not inform my office in August that there was a problem with certification or the stability letter, I am committed to making sure that the U.S. Coast Guard and the shipyard works with ASG to get our vessel up and running.”
“Once again, I thank the voters of American Samoa for placing their trust and confidence in me and, no matter who tries to take credit for what, I will continue to use my seniority and experience to get the job done for our people,” the Congressman concluded.