St Theresa purchased to ship Ha’apai aid

Tonga’s government owned inter-island ferry agency, the FISA, spent approximately TP$1.5m to purchase the MV St Theresa on February 19 to help transport relief aid and building materials to Ha’apai after Cyclone Ian.

The vessel was previously owned by JAWS South Pacific, a shipping venture of the Tongan Ramanlal family.

The 35 year-old St Theresa  is described as a multi-purpose vessel and was operated in the Falkland Islands before the Ramanlal’s bought it in 2011.

The FISA has already paid JAWS a 10% deposit.

Although listed by the Marine Traffic website as currently laid up,  the FISA said it is being renovated before beginning operations next month. 

The 490 tonne vessel was seized in 2012 and its director Joseph Ramanlal along with the captain and his assistant were arrested on suspicion  of smuggling goods into the country.

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