After signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Oro Province and the Milne Bay Province of PNG earlier this year, YWAM MSA’s current vessel, the MV Pacific Link, was able to make history as it sailed into both provinces for the first time.
During the ship’s stay in the Milne Bay Province, the YWAM volunteers were officially welcomed in a ceremony with Governor Titus Philemon, MBPHA, CEO Mr. Billy Naidi, and local churches, among a list of distinguished guests.
The YWAM team, who were from nine different nations, were able to partner with the Milne Bay Provincial Health Authority and assist with medical services such as ophthalmic (eye) surgery, dentistry, optometry, and primary health care in Alotau and Kiriwina Island in the Trobriand group.
“We are very hopeful of building this strategic relationship into the future that will be of particular benefit to our people in isolated areas,” Governor Philemon said.
A similar experience was had in the Oro Province of PNG when the MV Pacific Link sailed in. Over 500 locals attended the welcome ceremony that was hosted by the Oro Provincial Government and featured local dances and speeches from governmental representatives.
While the two maiden voyages marked the beginning of a new partnership between the two provinces, it also marked the end for the MV Pacific Link, should plans go ahead for its retirement at the end of 2014.
YWAM MSA are hoping to acquire a new vessel, the MV Ammari, which will enable them to expand their operations by 500 per cent. The MV Ammari is currently sailing from Cairns through to Sydney, as part of YWAM MSA’s “Overcoming The Impossible” tour, which seeks to raise awareness about the work of YWAM MSA, as well recruit new volunteers, and raise support for the purchase.
The Department of National Planning contributed 4 million PGK toward the deposit on the new vessel late last year, and a buyer has yet to be found for the MV Pacific Link after its retirement.