Christening Ceremony for the MV Manu'atele

The official blessing and christening of the newly arrived MV Manua’atele was celebrated at the Inter-Island Wharf in Fagatogo and hosted by the Department of Port Administration under the direction of Director Taimaleleagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele.  The CCCAS Vatia Choir sang inspirational hymns as guests and dignitaries arrived for the ceremony. Proceedings commenced with a few words and a prayer to bless the gathering by Reverend Ioane Evagelia of EFKAS Utulei.  Master of Ceremonies for the day was Deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs HTC Malemo Tausaga who stated that it was a day for testimonies, with three speakers scheduled to represent the American Samoa Government as well as the people of Manu’a.

First to speak was Senate President Gaoteote P. Tofau. The Senate President expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to represent the Legislature at the christening ceremony.  He said that he was thankful that a great need of the people of Manu’a has finally been addressed with the arrival of the Manu’atele, assuring the provisioning of reliable transportation providing opportunities for improvement and development of the Manu’a Islands.  He requested that the Manu’atele be maintained and cared for so it may continue to sustain its vital mission many years to come.

Next to the podium was Secretary of Samoan Affairs Afioga Mauga T. Ausega for his comments.  He thanked those responsible for the delivery of the Manu’atele and lauded the collaboration of the branches of the Government.  Special thanks were accorded to Director Taimaleleagi for her determination to select a Samoan captain and crew to operate the Manu’atele, providing a valuable example of using our people to achieve our goals.  

The following testimony was an emotional account by Manu’a Senator Misaalefua J. Hudson speaking as a representative of Manu’a. The Senator expressively described how he has shed tears of joy since the inception and realization of the MV Manuatele, a long sought after salvation for the people of Manu’a.  He thanked Governor Lolo, the Fono and the Department of the Interior for envisioning and building the Manu’atele.

Governor Lolo Moliga then addressed the gathering and proclaimed today as a day of happiness. He spoke of long standing adversities faced by the people of Manu’a and the importance to find solutions. He spoke of the positive impact of transportation on meeting the needs relative to the delivery of goods for basic necessities affecting the quality of life of the Manu’a residents. The Governor said discount the cost, but rather consider the improvement to the quality of life of the residents of Manu’a. The Governor noted that the Manu’atele will reduce reliance on others to serve the Manu’a Islands with new capacity to travel to Samoa and other islands in our region. Governor Lolo concluded his remarks, telling the gathering that regardless of what we may accomplish or achieve we must to continue to give the credit and the glory to God.

Monsignor Viane Etuale next performed the christening of the MV Manuatele who said the blessing was for the ship but also of those who would operate it and travel on it on the high seas. The Monsignor then had the gathering join in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  Monsignor Viane accompanied by Deacon Malaki Timu and escorted by Port Director Taimalelagi boarded the vessel and blessed it inside and out with Holy Water. 

The ribbon cutting ceremonial for the MV Manu’atele was performed by First Lady Cynthia Moliga and Mrs. Gayle Kruse memorialized by the traditional breaking of the “niu” or young coconut to officially complete the christening activity. Director Taimaleleagi then called upon Captain Faiai and crew to act as guides to lead the dignitaries to their first tour of the MV Manua’tele; a great gift for the people of Manu’a and American Samoa.