• Kyodo

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The Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Nippon Foundation has donated a small passenger ferry to the Pacific island nation of Palau after one sank in a typhoon in December 2012.

The Nippon Maru II will run between Palau’s most populous state of Koror and Peleliu Island, the site of one of the fiercest World War II Pacific battlegrounds.

After a handover ceremony Monday, Palau’s minister of state, Billy Kuartei, expressed appreciation. He told reporters the absence of a ferry has inconvenienced local residents for the past two years.

He said the new ship will help boost the country’s tourism industry.

The 18-meter vessel can carry 60 people, about three times the capacity of the boat it replaces, which the foundation donated in 1989.

The project is costing around ¥160 million, which includes training for crew. The ship is fitted with communications systems that enable the crew to liaise with maritime law enforcement, should it have to monitor other vessels or take part in rescue efforts.

Enhancing Palau’s maritime security is one of the Nippon Foundation’s ongoing efforts. It has already donated two boats to the maritime police for coast guard activities.

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