Subject: TLGOV: New ferry may help farmers get produce to market quicker



Dili, November 10 2006

New ferry may help farmers get produce to market quicker

A new 50-metre steel ferry boat capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and 170 tonnes of cargo will soon be sailing around the coast of Timor-Leste bringing new wealth and opportunities to our people.

The Prime Minister Dr José Ramos-Horta said today the ferry, a gift from the people of Germany, has the potential to help remote coastal communities become more efficient in getting produce to markets more quickly. It will also provide another cost-efficient means of transport in delivering goods ­ including food and building materials ­ to remote areas.

“While I was hoping that the ferry would be operating before Christmas, delays at the boat building company PT PAL Indonesia mean that it will now not be in service until the New Year,” Dr Ramos-Horta said. “While this is disappointing I am confident the new boat will play a major role in the development of Timor-Leste’s coastal and rural areas.”

The Nakroma will also help open up some of Timor-Leste’s magnificent coastal and beach areas to visitors. The Prime Minister believes many people ­ from Timor-Leste as well as other countries like Australia and Indonesia ­ will take advantage of the boat to travel around the country.

“As they visit places like Oecussi, Ata Uro, Com and Bacau they will bring investment and wealth to our communities. People from Darwin in Australia could start to holiday around our magnificent island,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

The Nakroma will carry 20 first class passengers and 280 passengers in economy. The boat’s route has not yet been finalized but this vessel is capable of traveling between Timor-Leste and Darwin and Bali.

“I am determined that the boat will be delivered to Timor-Leste in first class condition as agreed in the contract so I am going to have a third country ­ possibly Singapore, South Korea, Germany or Australia ­ conduct the final sea-trials and pre-delivery inspections,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

“Once the Nakroma is completed and delivered to Timor-Leste the Government will decide on routes that will bring the most benefit to all of us. Government officials will travel to regional areas to discuss these matters with local communities to ensure the ferry delivers the best possible benefits.

“On behalf of Timor-Leste I say a special thank you to the people of Germany for making this possible.”

For further information please contact::

Joel Maria Pereira Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: riko_joel @ Telephone: +670 7254740

Ivana Belo Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: unugina2004 @ Telephone: +670 724 3559.

Julian Swinstead Communications/Media Advisor Office of the Prime Minister Email: jswinstead @ Telephone: +670 732 7776.

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