Okeanos Palau, an eco-friendly, modernized traditional Pacific sailing canoe called ‘Vaka Motu’, was welcomed by traditional dancers as it docked at Neco Dock in Koror yesterday, July 4.(Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Researchers from the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) assessed the capability of Okeanos Palau, a modernized traditional sailing canoe, for research trips and said they could utilize the new vessel for their surveys in faraway sites that require several days to complete.

PICRC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yimnang Golbuu told the Times that they are hoping they can save some money by using the Okeanos Palau in doing their research since chartering boats to do surveys in the southwest islands is “too expensive.”

Golbuu said that although the vessel does not have a compressor to fill scuba tanks for researchers, they could always have the option to bring one on board or bring more scuba tanks for the researchers since it has the capacity to carry lots of cargoes.

Golbuu explained that if their researchers will survey several sites around a particular island, the vessel can be used as a base where they could take shelter so they do not have to travel to and fro every time they resume their research work.

“We will just do our survey, stay on the boat and continue the next day.  By doing that, we can save on fuel and time going back and forth between Koror and up north,” Golbuu said.

Golbuu also noted the fact that Okeanos Palau has little carbon footprint since it is mainly utilizing renewable energy.

“We are hoping that it can provide us with convenience when we survey up north and save us money when we survey the Southwest Islands,” Golbuu added.

Palau recently obtained the Okeanos Palau, the fifty-foot Vaka Motu (boat for the islands), which is a double-hulled, sailing canoe that is powered by renewable resources such as wind, solar energy, and coconut bio-fuel. The vessel was acquired by the Palauan government from a German philanthropic, non-profit organization called Okeanos Foundation for the Sea. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)