Transport Minister Eric Charlton today announced that Westpac Bank had negotiated the sale of three former Stateships to a European purchaser.
Mr Charlton said the vessels MVs Roberta Jull and Gordon Reid were at anchor in Singapore awaiting the arrival of the third ship Frank Konecny, which was en route from the Christmas and Cocos Islands.
The Government was not at liberty to disclose the sale price of any of the three vessels, which was entirely a commercial decision for Westpac.
"In the meantime, the State Government is continuing to honour its commitment to communities in the Pilbara and Kimberley by sub-chartering the MV Sina to service the region," the Minister said.
Mr Charlton said speculation that in the interim a second ship, the Frank Konecny, would sail on the North-West run in tandem with the Sina until the Government successfully completed negotiations with Westpac, were unfounded.
"This has never been an option for the Government, as Westpac were the owners and as such, they maintained total control of the three Stateships," he said.
The Sina will continue the WA coastal run until such time the special task force set up by the Government to assess the alternative transport needs of the people in the North-West has completed its work and reported to the Government next month.
Valuable input on some of those specific transport options has already been received from the Kimberley Development Commission and Kimberley-Northern Territory Shippers' Group.
The task force is due to be present its recommendations to the Government by August 11.
Media contact: Ian Hasleby 321 7333