15 Oct 2009

Gas distribution in Tonga hampered

4:28 pm on 15 October 2009

A Tongan gas distribution company is seeking answers to why the country's sole inter-island ferry has ceased transporting gas supplies to the Ha'apai group of islands.

Since the sinking of the Princess Ashika Ferry, the company, Home Gas Limited has been relying on the MV Pulapaki to deliver gas to Ha'apai.

The Chief Executive Officer Frank Schaper says some households and tourism operators have run out of gas and have returned to cooking on open fires with wood and kerosene.

"I don't know the reason why. We just suffer from the consequences. So the shipping company now is asking for a special authorisation or license issued by the Ports Authority, which is under the Ministry of Transport."

Frank Schaper says Home Gas and Tonga gas companies have submitted a letter to the Ministry of Transport seeking permission for its gas to be delivered by the MV Pulapaki but has had no response yet.

He says both companies have in the meantime arranged for a container ship to transport four tonnes of gas which will arrive in Ha'apai early next week.