AMBON – Maluku Governor Murad Ismail appreciated and supported the plan of an Australian investor, Tasageoby Group, who plans to invest in the transportation sector in Maluku Province.
Governor Murad made this statement when receiving Tasageoby Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stuart Janes and his board of directors, including Commercial Director Arfiah Janes, Managing Director Maani Tuasikal, and Marketing and Information Manager Zairin Salampessy, at the governor’s private residence, Wailela area, Ambon, Friday (2/7/2021).
To Governor Murad, Stuart mentioned that the transportation facility that will be operated by Tasageoby Group through the Air Maluku subsidiary in the Maluku Islands is the WIG (Wing In Ground) Craft produced by the ARON Company in South Korea.
“WIG craft is a multimodal ship which, in its primary operational mode, flies by means of the effect of a ground air cushion acting on the wing over the water surface, without constant contact with the surface, and is supported in the air primarily by the aerodynamic lift generated on its wings or hull, or parts designed to take advantage of ground effect action,” explains Stuart.
Although the WIG craft can act as both a ship and a plane, according to Stuart, between International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) classifies this mode of transportation as a ship.
He believes the cost of operating the WIG craft transportation will be much cheaper than ordinary commercial aeroplane. Even the advantages, said Stuart, are that apart from a relatively short distance, WIG craft can land at a number of points in Maluku, only relying on the WIG landing or jetty (floating dock) which is not affected by tidal or low tide conditions.
“For the initial stage, we hope that in 2022 we will start to be able to develop a pilot project building 3 WIG Ports with facilities, namely one each in Ambon, Banda and Masohi. Later in Sawai and Namlea, and hope to be able to operate WIG craft,by 2023” said the man with more than 40 years of aviation experience and more than 13,000 hours of helicopter flying, in various operations at locations around the world.
To get there, Stuart said, his company would like to build a Main Operating Base in Ambon, including setting up maintenance facilities and possibly a training center for WIG craft which could possibly be located in Ambon or Masohi.
“This training center in Maluku would be the first outside South Korea for Aron products. Commercial WIG craft technology is new to the world so if someone buys this WIG craft from any country, the pilots and engineers will be trained in Maluku at the buyer’s expense,” said Stuart.
The training center in Maluku is also a source of pride for the company, especially since Tasageoby Group has been appointed as an non-exclusive Agent for the South Korean Aron Flightship company, for the promotion of sales of their WIG craft products in Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Australia.
Responding to Stuart Janes’ presentation, Maluku Governor Murad Ismail said that this Australian investor was present in Maluku at the right time, because this archipelago does need transportation technology that the Tasageoby Group will bring to Maluku.
“We in Maluku have nine regencies and two cities. From one district to another, by land, it can take 6 to 7 hours. If you take a plane, it can take 1 hour to 2 hours. If we go to Central Maluku by ferry for 2 hours. From Central Maluku to West Seram (SBB) only, if by land it can take 6 to 7 hours. So if Tasageoby Group operates WIG Craft here, it will be very helpful,” said Governor Murad.
According to Governor Murad, yesterday he made a working visit to SBB, from one sub-district to another it could take 5 to 7 hours. For example, from the Gesser to Gorom area. In the end he chose to return by sea. Because if you go by land, then the next day you can only arrive in Ambon.
“Therefore, as an archipelagic area, such as Maluku Province which has an area of 712,480 Km2, consisting of about 92.4% of the ocean and 7.6% of land, with the number of islands reaching 1,412 islands and a coastline length of 10,662 Km, and 658,317 km. we have the sea, so we really need a means of sea transportation like this WIG craft,” he said.
He imagines that in the future the areas in Maluku with difficult access to transportation will no longer feel isolated. Including if there are residents in remote areas who fall ill and need immediate medical treatment, this WIG Craft transportation will be very helpful.
“With the presence of WIG Craft in this area later, it is predicted to be able to solve one of the classic problems related to transportation modes for an archipelagic province like Maluku,” said Governor Murad, who expressed his support for Tasageoby, including sending letters of recommendation and lobbying the relevant ministries in the area. Jakarta, so that the intention to present WIG craft in Maluku can be carried out quickly.
Meanwhile in his statement, Tasageoby Group Marketing and Information Manager Zairin Salampessy said his party was very grateful to the Governor of Maluku, who had also received his party at the first meeting on December 17, 2020.
“At the first meeting, the Tasageoby Group also introduced themselves and conveyed their intention to invest in Maluku. At this second meeting, we want to give him an idea, that we are really serious about being able to bring in WIG craft as the best transport in Maluku,” he explained.
Talking about the WIG Craft’s carrying capacity, Zairin said, the WIG, which is planned to be operated by Tasageoby Group through its Air Maluku, has a capacity to carry 8 passengers, with a flying height of up to 150 meters.
“For the distance, for example, if we go from Ambon City to Masohi City by bus via ferry, it can take up to 7 hours. Or by speed boat between 2 to 2 and a half hours. So with WIG Craft it only takes 30 minutes said Zairin.
Also present at the Tasageoby Group meeting with Governor Murad were the Head of the Maluku Provincial Tourism Office (Kadis) Marcus Pattinama, the Head of the Maluku Provincial Transportation Office Muhammad Malawat, the Head of the Maluku Province Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office Abdul Haris, and the Head of the Public Relations and Protocol Bureau of the Maluku Provincial Secretariat. Melky Lohy.