Malaita Ferry Beached at Honiara

Ramos IIIAnyone who has traveled extensively in the Solomon Islands will be familiar with the ferry Ramos III of the Malaita Shipping Company. Until last year, the Ramos III left Honiara for Auki on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a trip to South Malaita every other Sunday. The long padded seats in first class provided a good place to stretch out on overnight trips, and economy passengers could take shelter in a large protected room downstairs.

Last year, the Ramos III was taken out of service due to mechanical problems and holes in the side of the vessel. At the beginning of this month it was lying at anchor off Point Cruz, Honiara, when Tropical Cyclone Jim struck the open roadstead. The Ramos III was thrown onto the beach near the Marine Training School at Ranadi, where it joined the earlier wreck of the Western Queen pictured on my Solomon Islands photo page.

Luckily, no one was aboard the ill-fated ship during the beaching and no lives were lost. Plans to repair the Ramos III had been on hold for months due to a lack of funds, and this latest mishap now leaves the country's second largest and most densely populated island without regular shipping services to the capital.

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