The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has signed a contract with Knud. E. Hansen of Denmark for the design of a 500-ton SOLAS-compliant passenger vessel for Tokelau, a non-self governing territory of New Zealand consisting of three coral atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo).

The vessel, which is the only means of getting to and from the atolls, will be the first purpose built SOLAS passenger ship serving Tokelau, according to the Danish firm, carrying up to 60 passengers, in addition to 50 tons of cargo and supplies. With a design speed of 11.5 knots, the 270 nautical miles between Tokelau and Apia, Samoa will take just under 24 hours.

Given the size of the vessel, space is at a premium; however the vessel will be equipped with 24 bunk beds, 16 reclining seats, a children’s play area, 80 square meters of open deck area for passengers, a sick bay as well as accommodations for 12 crew. Five 10-foot container units will be carried, including two reefers. A crane for loading/unloading cargo is also provided.

Knud E. Hansen said that vessel accelerations for the passengers will be minimized by placing the accommodation aft, and Lloyds Register PCAC (Passenger and Crew Comfort) notation is being used as a design criteria.

Environmental considerations are also high on the agenda, in keeping with the impressive green credentials of Tokelau, who are the world’s first solar powered country. Battery banks will provide electrical power for essential services including air conditioning during hours of darkness. Sail assistance is also being investigated.