18 Sep 2002

Fuel shortage in Samoas a serious blow for fishing industry

5:37 pm on 18 September 2002

An American Samoan official with the oil multi-national, BP, has blamed a tanker fire for the fuel shortage being experienced in the territory.

Dr Paul Stevenson says the tanker that was due in the territory on September the 22nd, was hit by a fire on board and had to stay in Australia.

Dr Stevenson's comments come after local fishing boat owners were told that they could not refuel in the territory until the next tanker arrived.

The next tanker is now scheduled to arrive in American Samoa on September 30th.

Dr Stevenson says under the current allocation, fuel for fishing vessels has been used up, and the only available fuel is for the power authority.

There have also been reports of nearby Samoa experiencing a similar shortage after American Samoan fishing boats began refueling in Apia.

Carlos Sanchez of the Longline Fishing Company, which has five boats says the shortage is a serious blow for the industry.

"Somebody did a bad job over here, and we are going to have to pay for it, because this is our season this is the time for us to catch the fish that is there, after December it is dry for us, and now we cannot get out of the port because we have no fuel."

Carlos Sanchez of the Longline Fishing Company.