- How do I catch the ferry from my village?
- How do I contact Pelena Express?
- Can I charter the ferry and how do I do it?
- How do I buy a ticket or token?
- How do I calculate how many tokens I will need for a specific journey?
- What is the cost of a token?
- Can I purchase Pelena Express tokens directly from Pelena Express?
- How can I get Pelena Express to stop at my village?
- Is there a toilet on the boat?
- What safety features are on the Pelena Express boat?
- Why are there no life-boats or life-rafts on the vessel?
- Why doesn’t the Pelena Express boat have a propeller?
- What is the maintenance program for Pelena Express?
- How can the Pelena Express water transportation service expand to other areas and other provinces?
- How many boats are in the Pelena Express fleet?
- What is the official name of Pelena Express?
- Is Pelena Express licensed to operate a passenger vessel in Solomon Islands?
- Who owns Pelena Express?
- How is Pelena Express funded?
- Is Pelena Express just a ferry business?
- How can Pelena Express help my business?
- How can Pelena Express help my aid project?
- Who built the Pelena Express boat?
- Can I buy a boat like the Pelena Express?
- I have heard that the vessel uses coconut oil as a fuel. Is this true?
First check the timetable to see when the boat is due at your village. The boat will stop for only a short time at the main village wharf or beach. Payment is made by Pelena Tokens. These tokens are sold on the boat, but at a much higher price compared to other shop sellers.
There are a number of ways to contact Pelena Express. Please refer to the contact page on this website.
Yes. Please contact Pelena Express to discuss availability.
Tokens can be purchased on the boat, but this is an expensive way to purchase them. We recommend that Pelena Tokens are purchased from outlets in towns, such as shops and stores. These stores will display a sign indicating “Pelena Tokens on Sale Here”.
Tokens can also be purchased in Australia through Pelena Energy.
The number of tokens your require depends on how far, or what distance you will travel. The timetable also shows how many tokens are required to travel between regular villages or towns. In general, one Pelena Token is required for each 5km of distance travelled. The Pelena Crew are responsible for determining how many tokens are required to travel between two locations.
The cost of Pelena Express Tokens is determined by the selling agents.
Single Pelena Express Tokens can be purchased on the boat — but this is not recommended as the cost is high. It is probably cheaper to buy from an Agent. Pelena Express can sell bulk volumes of Pelena Express Tokens — more than 200 Tokens — but only though arrangements with Pelena Express Management. To minimise cash on the vessel, such sales are not permitted on the vessel.
Please contact Pelena Express. Depending on support, we may develop a system whereby villages raise a signal, such as a flag, to indicate a pick-up is required. Stay tuned to local radio for updates.
No. The travel times between towns and villages are short, so a toilet is not on board.
The most important safety feature is the training of the crew. All crew are rural Solomon Islanders with extensive personal experience in safety at sea. Additionally, all crew members have completed extensive Solomon Islands recognised maritime training in fire-fighting, first aid, survival at sea techniques, occupational heath and safety. Additionally, some crew members have undertaken training in Australia towards the final stages of vessel construction and motored the vessel from Australia to Solomon Islands. The vessel will be surveyed by Solomon Islands Marine Division and has been approved for use as a passenger vessel. The vessel was constructed to USL codes in Australia for use in waters up to 30Nm from the coastline. A full complement of lifejackets, EPIRB, fresh water, bilge pumps, multiple radios (HF & VHF) and satellite phone are also employed. Below deck, the vessel has sufficient buoyancy foam to keep the vessel afloat should the hull of the boat be ruptured.
Life-boats require extensive and regular servicing by authorised service agents to meet international safety standards. Such servicing is not available in Solomon Islands. Instead, we meet the same international safety requirements (USL Codes) by having substantial under-deck buoyancy foam plus provisions of water and life jackets. This buoyancy foam will keep the vessel afloat even if all hull plates are ruptured.
The Pelena Express vessel does have a propeller — but it’s located inside a pipe inside the boat. A screen or trashrack stops logs and coconuts from hitting the propeller. Because there is no propeller underneath the boat, less depth of water is required to operate the boat.
The maintenance program is strictly controlled. The equipment that makes up the boat has been chosen for its reliability and ease of spare parts availability and supply. Preventative maintenance of the vessel and regular checks of all components is routine. The crew members have been chosen because of their experience working with other Pelena products, especially the Pelena Energy micro-hydroelectric turbines. Good people and good equipment and good support results in reliable operation.
14. How can the Pelena Express water transportation service expand to other areas and other provinces?
To do this, Pelena Express needs to obtain more boats and train more crew members. We have developed a program to do this — a program that would supply at least weekly transport to 90% of coastal rural Solomon Islanders. Such a program requires funding.
At present there is only one vessel, named Pelena Express One. However, it is planned to increase this number to develop a interconnected rural transportation network across the country. Access to funds is the limiting factor in the expansion of Pelena Express.
The official name is Pelena Express Limited. This is a registered company in Solomon Islands
Pelena Express has a licence from the Western Province Assembly to operate a passenger transport service. At present, the Pelena Express operation is only in the Western Province.
Pelena Express is a Solomon Island company, owned by rural people and committed to serving people living in the rural areas.
The Pelena Express business is totally privately funded by the owners taking out a private loan. No government or aid funding has contributed to this essential service. Unfortunately, none of the Solomon Islands financial institutions would lend money to the project. Fortunately, a private lender was found in Australia. This is a commercial arrangement where the loan must be repaid with interest.
No. Pelena Express plans to be more than a ferry service. We plan that the vessel will be a “multi-function water transport vessel” to enable sustainable development in rural Solomon islands
We are keen to assist you with your rural business venture. Perhaps we can arrange a regular collection of your produce. Perhaps your business struggles with providing reliable and affordable transport solutions, and outboards have been a problem to maintain and keep solely for business related use. The Pelena Token system can allow your business to provide transport without the hassles of operating outboard motors and canoes. Perhaps we can assist you with a business plan which incorporates using the Pelena Express vessel.
The fantastic load carrying capacity of the Pelena Express boat, with its very low draught, allows the boat excellent access to many village beachfronts. This eliminates the need for multi-transfers of cargo from multiple boats to multiple canoes. Additionally, many aid projects suffer from the need to purchase a piece of machinery, such as an outboard motor. The lack of regular transportation services in rural Solomon Islands often results in the outboard motor and other capital items being used for private use. The Pelena Express Token system can allow for clear budget forecasting and project planning, without the hassle of worrying about whether or not a piece of machinery will be available and operational for the project.
The boat was built in Australia by Pelena Energy.
Yes. However, our aim is to provide a reliable transportation service — not just a good boat. We could sell you a boat, but we couldn’t sell you all our knowledge and skills for keeping a boat working well in Solomon Islands. We would prefer to sell or lease to you a “transportation package” whereby we supply the boat, the crew, the spare parts, the maintenance program, the quality fuel, and therefore the reliability.
We know too well that many people and businesses buy a boat and a motor thinking they are getting a transport solution, then to discover quite soon that all they really bought was bits of machinery.
Let Pelena Express take the headache out of supplying water transportation in Solomon Islands!
Pelena Energy of Australia has developed methods for reliably operating diesel engines on coconut oil. It is planned that the vessel will be operating on a blend of diesel fuel and coconut oil after business establishment. The aim is to eliminate the copra processing in villages and instead produce oil directly at the village level. This will provide income for villagers and minimise the dependence Solomon Islands has on imported oil. The greenhouse benefits are also significant.
More information about the vessel can be found on the boat information page.