OITA, JAPAN (9 July 2024) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Tuvalu, and representatives from the Honda Heavy Industries Co. Ltd today participated in the launch of a new passenger and cargo ship in Saiki. The new ship, the Manu Sina, will replace the aging existing ship, the Manu Folau.

Tuvalu’s Minister for Transport, Energy, Communication, and Innovation Simon Kofe, led the Tuvalu government delegation at the ship launching ceremony. He was joined by ADB Deputy Director General for the Pacific Hideaki Iwasaki, and Honda Heavy Industries Co. Ltd President Hisaaki Masuda, to launch the vessel.

ADB’s Special Funds resources from the Asian Development Fund (ADF), will provide $30 million and the Government of Tuvalu will contribute $3 million. The ADF provides grants to ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries.

The only means of transport between Tuvalu’s capital Funafuti and the outer islands is by sea. The new ship will ensure safer and more transfer of people and goods and will improve people’s livelihoods in the outer islands and promote economic development.

“Tuvalu is one of most vulnerable countries to climate change. The new ship is climate resilient and will be a lifeline to the people of the outer islands, said Mr. Iwasaki. “Safe, reliable outer island sea transport is essential to Tuvalu’s economy and social cohesion, intra-regional connectivity and trade, and improving women’s mobility to health care and markets.”

"Shipping services are essential lifelines for our island communities, and ensuring their safety and efficiency is a top priority for our government,” said Mr. Kofe. “We deeply appreciate ADB's support and partnership in helping us achieve this goal."

“We are honored to be involved in this project and to contribute to safe mobility and improved livelihoods in Tuvalu,” said Mr. Masuda. “The ship is expected to operate for decades and is made of high-quality materials which meet the highest safety and environmental international standards.”

The project supported by ADB and Tuvalu will improve people’s livelihoods in the outer islands of Tuvalu, its capital Funafuti, and neighboring countries, Fiji and Kiribati. The project will also rehabilitate port auxiliary infrastructure (fenders) and build the operation and maintenance capacity of the Ministry of Transport, Energy and Tourism to ensure the sustainability of the investment.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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