By: Adam Somers
After close to four years of being grounded, the overhaul and resuming service of Regina IV this summer has created an “exploded movement of cargo” between Koror and Angaur, according to Angaur State Governor Kennosuke Suzuky.
The 76-foot ferry has been making weekly supply-runs, transporting cargo including vehicles, materials to renovate or build houses, and appliances from Koror to Angaur and Peleliu.
“It’s opened up what’s been backlogged from the boat not operating,” said Governor Suzuky. “It’s giving people hope that they can rebuild their homes or fix the graves of their dead relatives.”
During the long interval in ferry-service caused by a failure of motor and electrical equipment, transportation between the islands was primarily by speedboat.
Many Angaur citizens say that they prefer riding the speedboat, which takes a little over an hour to go from Koror to Angaur, as opposed to the ferry, which takes close to four hours. However, cargo space is limited on the speedboat, which is unable to accommodate many materials needed for construction, such as large amounts of cement.
Governor Suzuky has said that this ability to transport cargo is “creating a boom” on the island in local tourism and workers who are coming to Angaur for building projects, and then spending in local stores and homestays.
“’Spillover opportunities’ are rising on Angaur,” said Governor Suzuky. “With this influx of people, residents here are starting to sell local goods, baked bread, stuffed clams, which is generating revenue. And people are hopeful now that if they want something done, it will get done.”
Beginning in 2015, the Regina IV experienced failures in the propulsion mechanism, auxiliaries and control system, and underwent unsuccessful attempts at repairs in the Philippines. Earlier this year, the Angaur State Government enlisted help from resident engineers to complete the overhaul.