22 May 2008

Disruptions to Fijian shipping service cause food shortagesin Lau Group

9:46 am on 22 May 2008

Fiji villagers in the Lau Group say they are running out of food because of a delay in shipping services.

Ravula Draunidalo, the head of traditional leaders on Moala Island, said they had been without a shipping service for more than a month and stores on the island were in dire need of fresh supplies.

He told the Fiji Times Online the inter-island vessel Tunatuki last serviced the islands on April 16th.

Matuku district representative Varanisese Gade said they had run out of fuel, cooking oil, sugar and basic groceries usually sold by stores in the islands.

He said there were 12 tonnes of copra waiting to be shipped to Suva.

Salia Basaga Shipping manager Samuela Tukana said the Marine Department put a stop order on the ship.

Mr Tukana said the vessel had to undergo repairs and fumigation after complaints from villagers about it being infested with pests.

He said fumigation took 24 hours and the vessel was scheduled to leave for the Lau Group later this week.