Ufficio del Turismo di Tonga in Italia - News
Calendario Eventi 2002

MEDIA STATEMENT - May 17, 2002


The operations of the Tonga International Registry of Ships (TIRS) based in Greece are to be closed.
Honorable Fielakepa, chairman of a Cabinet Committee set up to review the TIRS, confirmed the proposed closure today. He said the Government had acted because it was concerned about damage to the Kingdom's reputation from incidents involving Tongan-registered ships carrying weapons and illegal immigrants.
The TIRS had also not lived up to commercial expectations.
"Diplomatic, financial, business and legal considerations were taken into account in making the final decision," Honorable Fielakepa said.
"International terrorism and an increase in people smuggling and asylum seekers were clearly key factors. Even our own region has felt the impact of these problems."
Honorable Fielakepa said the Cabinet committee's final judgement was that the TIRS carried too much risk.
The Government initially felt there were good prospects for the TIRS to earn income for the Kingdom and provide employment for Tongan seamen.
"But in the prevailing world political climate, we could not be confident about the future of the TIRS. We did not want Tonga's image to be further hurt by events beyond its control.
"Like the rest of the international community we did not foresee the rise in global terrorism and the illicit movement of people by sea. These developments have created special problems for the world shipping industry. The TIRS has obviously been affected by these."
According to Honorable Fielakepa the Government cannot be held liable for incidents featuring Tongan-flagged vessels because the primary responsibility rests with the ship and cargo owners.
"Despite this, we felt the problems the TIRS has experienced over the last few months were unacceptable," the Minister said. "We must protect Tonga's image."
Honorable Fielakepa says the Government's withdrawal from the shipping venture is also consistent with its opposition to terrorism.
It did not wish to promote any enterprise over which it could not exercise direct control and which might be exploited to advance terrorist activity.
The Government says losses to Tonga’s revenue from the closure of the TIRS will be minimal. It has given a 12 months notice of termination of an agreement with Mr. Pelopidas Papadopoulos, who holds the position of Deputy Registrar of Ships with the TIRS office in Piraeus, Greece. In line with the agreement, Mr. Papadopoulos pays for the running costs of the Piraeus office. He reports to Mr. Tu’itupou Fotu, the Registrar of Ships and the Secretary for Marine and Ports in Nuku’alofa.
Officials of the Ministry of Marine and Ports are working with Mr. Papadopoulos on an orderly winding down of the TIRS. The Government says it is important to give the owners of the 185 ships registered with the TIRS an opportunity to make alternative arrangements. No more overseas ships will be registered.
The TIRS was established in December 2000 to function from Piraeus, an important center of shipping in the Mediterranean. Its objective was to register vessels owned by national or foreign corporate organizations or individuals. This would be in accordance with relevant Tongan legislation and international conventions ratified by the Government of Tonga.

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (January 9, 2002 – Radio Australia)
--The government has announced that Tonga’s voters will go to the polls on March 7th.
The election of the kingdom's Legislative Assembly will take place over two days, with nine representatives of the nobles and nine commoners to be chosen.
The nobles will elect their nine representatives to the house on March 6th.
The general populace will elect the nine people's representatives the following day.

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (August 27, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)
---An exhibition of ancient Tongan artifacts was officially opened at the Tonga National Museum last week by Prime Minister Prince ‘Ulukalala Lavaka Ata.
Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita also graced the opening s well as leaders and distinguished quests, to witness this first major display of treasures from Tonga’s pre-historic days.
Tools and other items, mostly pottery, taken from various digging expeditions on Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u, were carbon tested overseas to determine the time of their origin.
Most were dated to the Lapita era -- some 2,000 years before the rule of Tonga’s first King, ‘Aho’eitu, about the year 950 AD.
Anthropologist Professor David Burley from Canada is in Tonga to supervise the exhibition.
"This is a very important time for the Tongan people to learn about their culture and ancestors," he said.
Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita said the museum is one of Tonga’s most valuable possessions.
"This will serve as a symbol of how important our culture is and for the people of Polynesia. I hope school children will make use of the museum," said the Princess.

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (24 agosto 2001 – Radio New Zealand International)
Tonga è stata rimossa dalla lista dei Paesi del Pacifico etichettati come "paradisi fiscali".  L'OECD (
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) ha annunciato che Tonga non sarà inclusa nel proprio elenco delle Nazioni che non collaborano, come risultato dei recenti cambiamenti fatti dal Governo Tongano.
Tonga recentemente ha fatto delle variazioni legislative e intrapreso azioni amministrative contro i settori indicati nel giugno dello scorso anno dall'OECD come "paradiso fiscale".
La decisione di togliere Tonga dalla "lista nera" è stato presa a seguito di incontri bilaterali con l'OECD a Auckland, in Nuova Zelanda.

Novembre 2000 - ORA LEGALE
Il Governo di Tonga ha approvato l'introduzione dell'ora legale nel Regno per ogni anno con inizio  dalle 2:00 della prima domenica di novembre alle 2:00 dell'ultima domenica di gennaio. In questo modo, per il periodo dell'ora legale Tonga sarà 14 ore avanti l'ora del meridiano di Greenwich (GMT, Greenwich Mean Time).
Per quest'anno l'inizio è stabilito alle 2:00 di domenica 5 novembre e il termine alle 2:00 di domenica 28 gennaio 2001.
I Paesi vicini a Tonga che hanno il periodo di ora legale sono :
Fiji - dal 1 novembre al 27 febbraio
Australia - dall'ultimo sabato di agosto  all'ultimo sabato di marzo
Nuova Zelanda - dal 1 ottobre al 18 marzo.
La prima introduzione dell'ora legale a Tonga (dal 2 ottobre 1999 al 19 marzo 2000) che fu stabilita per il periodo dei festeggiamenti del Millennio è stata in esperienza positiva, in linea con quella delle nazioni confinanti, in particolar modo per i programmi ufficiali e quelli turistici, soprattutto per evitare confusioni e problemi per i vettori aerei e gli operatori turistici..
Localmente si sono avuti benefici economici e sociali con l'ora in più di luce durante il periodo più caldo dell'anno (da ottobre a marzo).


The Embassy of the United States of America in Suva, Fiji on behalf of The Scripps Institution for Oceanography lodged a request with the Tongan Government for a proposed scientific investigation by R/V Melville in marine areas. The Government of the Kingdom of Tongan gave its approval last week for the Study to take place.
Scientist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography has studied the Tonga Trench for nearly fifty years. Most of these studies, however, are on the geology and geophysics of the area. The proposed investigation will focus on the biology of the Tonga Trench, and among the proposed activities will be to collect a variety of samples from depths of 2,000 meters down to the maximum depth of approximately 10,800 meters. The types of samples to be collected are: sediments, water, rocks, and animals such as deep-sea fish and invertebrates. The samples will be collected with rock dredges, towed nets, traps, coring devices, and Niskin bottles and will be used principally as sources of inocula for culture media to grow deep sea microorganisms and for the determination of the diversity of trench microbial inhabitants. This investigation has three main interests in terms of the inhabitants of the Tonga Trench, as follows.
First, the Tonga Trench is the coldest known habitat with a depth of 10,800 meters. Judging from appropriate sources made in the 1950s, the researchers predict that the temperature in the Tonga Trench at its greatest depths will be close to 2° C. This contrasts with the temperature in the Mariana Trench of approximately 2.5° C at comparable depth. The surprising aspect of small temperature differences in the deep sea is that they have a profound influence on the physiology of the inhabitants. The proposed research is designed to quantify these differences through physiological studies of Tonga 'Trench microorganisms. These studies would assist with estimating the upper pressure limit to life processes and in understanding how changes in the Earth's climate might ultimately affect deep-sea life.
The second interest in the inhabitants of the Tonga Trench is the fact that very few studies of these microorganisms have been carried out. According to similar studies that had been carried out in the Peru-Chile Trench, the Philippine Trench, the Palau Trench and the Mariana Trench, there is clear indication that amphipods (crustacea) are the dominant mobile scavengers. It will be of great interest to see whether these animals are also present in the Tonga Trench and whether they are related to those inhabiting other trenches. The only previous studies of life in the Tonga Trench dates back to the Daniah Galathea Expedition that ended in 1952.
The third goal of this investigation is to determine the distribution of thermophilic microorganisms in the ocean. Studies in distant parts of the world have shown that
thermophilic microorganism disperse widely and are found in cold water. They do not grow in these cold environments but will grow when incubated at high temperature. The Tonga Trench is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. As such, it is conceivable that thermophilic organism inhabiting deep parts of the seafloor are constantly released into the cold overlying ocean. It is also conceivable that thermophilic microorganisms are found in the deep waters of the Tonga Trench because of its close proximity to submarine hydrothermal activity in the Lau Basin.
The proposed research will be conducted under the command of the Chief Scientist, Dr. Art Yayanos of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography with a supporting team of five other scientists. There is space available for an interested local Tongan Scientist.
R/V Melville is owned by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The shipmaster is Mr. Eric Buck with 23 crews. It is 2,200 gross tons with overall length of 16.5-foot draft.

Dal 28 maggio al 4 giugno è stato in visita in Italia l'Hon. Giulio Masasso T. Pa'unga, Ministro del Turismo, Commercio e Industria di Tonga.
Il CAMEL TROPHY 2000 nelle isole del Sud Pacifico
Il Sud Pacifico è lo scenario nel quale si è svolto il Camel Trophy 2000, che ha  portato l'avventura fra Tonga e Samoa. Luoghi leggendari che concentrano su di sé il senso più profondo dell'avventura: quello delle grandi esplorazioni e della ricerca di un nuovo modo di vita.
Come Tonga divenne "La Terra dove inizia il Tempo"
Calendario Eventi 2001

Ufficio del Turismo di Tonga in Italia
e-mail: info@tongaturismo.info