Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sea swells cause Wewak fuel shortages

PORT MORESBY: Fuel supplies in Wewak have reached “critical levels” following the recent king tides that devastated many northern coastal areas.

The InterOil terminal has exhausted all supplies of gasoline and kerosene and has less than a week’s stock of diesel.

The company believes that it may be Christmas Eve before fresh supplies can be landed.

InterOil Products Limited General Manager Peter Diezmann described the situation as serious.

“The recent sea swells caused severe damage to the Wewak wharf and the structures that support the pipeline used to discharge fuel into our terminal”.

Mr. Diezmann said crews worked around the clock to repair the pipeline and the shore facilities.

The wharf pipeline was pressure tested and then declared in full working order ready to receive petroleum products.

The facility was re-opened to maritime traffic earlier this week.

However, sea swells during the past three days have prevented the tanker vessel (LCT), carrying fresh fuel stocks, from coming alongside.

The master of the vessel considered it unsafe to attempt a berthing in such conditions.

“We accept that the safety of his ship and crew is the skipper’s primary responsibility”, Mr. Diezmann said.

“On that basis he continued his voyage on to Manus and Kavieng in the hope conditions at Wewak will subside in the days ahead”.

“We hope the LCT will be able to return to Wewak on December 24th”.

In the interim, InterOil is looking at the logistics of transporting emergency supplies of fuel into the affected area.

“It may be possible to bring a small number of drums into Wewak from Madang or Lae, on local coastal vessels, to supplement existing stocks”, Mr. Diezmann said.

“However, at this stage, it is possible we may exhaust all fuel supplies while the sea swell prevents the bulk fuel tanker from berthing”.

For further information

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations - InterOil Corporation

Ph: 321 7040

Mobile: 684 5168



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