20 Apr 2010

Transport matters raise supply concerns in American Samoa's Manu'a

9:35 pm on 20 April 2010

The residents of American Samoa's Manu'a islands are worried about the security of supplies with the ongoing work being done on the government's interisland vessel.

A boat from Samoa was chartered last week by a construction company after no special service had been organised for weeks.

The situation was made worse by the fact the only plane flying to Manu'a was also in for repairs.

A businessman in Manu'a, Ale Filoiali'i, who is also involved in several school PTAs, says they had run out of basic goods such as rice and fuel, including diesel needed for the school bus:

"When we are out of fuel I'm the one who uses my truck to tranport kids from one village to the other village...and almost a week now I've been doing that. Now they got diesel for the bus, now they using the bus again, but when we had our problem, a lot of kids want to go to school, but they had no coice they had to walk to school."

Ale Filoiali'i says similar transport problems happen every year and a permanent solution needs to be found.

The repairs to the MV Sili were completed in Pago Pago last week, but the government is still checking the invoice before paying the shipyard bill.

Our correspondent says there will then need to be further improvements before the Coastguard will issue a certificate of seaworthiness.