A Boat With Precious Cargo

The Kwadima II takes on treacherous waters.

  • November 5, 2013
  • By: Tim Scott
*Tim Scott is the chief communications officer for the Papua New Guinea branch of SIL, one of Wycliffe’s primary partners.
A docked boat

The MV Kwadima II is a 40-foot boat that will accommodate up to 35 passengers and room for up to 15 tons of cargo. It is managed out of Alotau by SIL-PNG. The primary function of the Kwadima II is to move language development and translation teams to and from remote areas. Many of these areas do not have regular maritime travel and are not easily accessible by smaller boats. It is not unusual to have trips of up to 24 hours or more.

Courses such as VITAL (Vernacular In Translation and Literacy) and other workshops held at the combined SIL-PNG and BTA Training Center utilize the boat to bring in language workers from many different areas. Safety is a primary concern when selecting water transportation. Since most local travel occurs on smaller boats which are often overloaded or depart without proper water safety equipment, many passengers prefer to use the Kwadima II. But safe travel is not the only advantage. Many of the workshop and course attendees arrive on time for the courses because the “normal” travel by boat is dependent on the inconsistent departure times and available boats.

Since boat maintenance and water travel is expensive, charter loads are scheduled to subsidize the cost for the non-profit workers who use the boat for affordable transportation. When the boat is not booked for passenger travel for language development and translation, it is kept busy providing safe and reliable delivery of goods and people to many areas around Milne Bay Province.

The Kwadima II is managed by Tim McIntosh who has 20 years of maritime experience. While Tim loves the sea, being a manager doesn’t mean that he gets to skipper the boat. In fact he only gets to go along infrequently. The waters in and around Milne Bay are treacherous with many reefs and strong currents and requires navigation by those who have experience in these waters. The boat is skippered by a Papua New Guinean captain and first mates who have excellent safety records.

Although the boat is primarily used in the Milne Bay area, it has travelled as far as Tufi, Buka and Mortlock Atoll.

One language worker states, “Our primary means of getting in and out of the village has been by taking the Kwadima II. We are very thankful for the way the boat is well maintained, for the trustworthy and competent crew, for the hard work of the boat manager — and on those 14-hour boat rides, extremely thankful for a boat with an operational toilet!”