Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wewak fuel situation "critical"

PORT MORESBY: Fuel stocks in Wewak are “all but exhausted” with only minimal supplies now available for emergency services and industry.

The fuel tanker North Contender carrying much needed fuel stock was unable to discharge at Wewak yesterday.

The tanker vessel servicing the region has been unable to berth since king tides damaged port facilities last month.

InterOil Products Limited General Manager Peter Diezmann says the situation is ‘highly regrettable” and is beyond the control of the Company.

The vessel attempted to berth this (Wednesday) morning but the skipper ceased efforts to come alongside in the interests of safety of his vessel and people of Wewak.

It was the third time, in recent weeks the vessel arrived at Wewak but was unable to berth due to sea conditions and infrastructure repairs at the wharf not having yet been completed by PNG Ports Corporation.

“Maritime safety is the key responsibility of the ship’s master and he has legitimately taken the decision that he is unable to berth the vessel under current sea and wharf infrastructure conditions”, Mr. Diezmann said.

“We have been in communication with the PNG Ports Corporation requesting that they carry out repairs to the wharf fenders as this is a key concern of the ship’s Master”.

“This work is yet to be completed.”

Mr. Diezmann said InterOil has been pulling out all stops to supplement the meagre supplies remaining.

“We continue our efforts to bring in drummed supplies from Madang and Lae”, he said.

“These supplies come in via a local coastal cargo vessel which operates a weekly service to Wewak”.

Wewak has been without regular bulk fuel deliveries for almost four weeks and rationing has been in force since.

“We were counting on a major delivery being made by the tanker vessel on Tuesday morning.”

“With the Master of the vessel again feeling unable to berth safely at Wewak, the situation has gone from serious to critical”.

Mr. Diezmann said the company has planned for a smaller local coastal tanker to berth at Wewak on the 21st of January.

We trust that sea conditions are more favourable and the necessary wharf infrastructure repairs are completed by then.”

  “I ask Wewak consumers to exercise patience and understanding at this difficult time”, Mr. Diezmann said.

“Everyone can be assured that we are doing everything in our power to ensure the region has some fuel pending resumption of regular bulk deliveries”.

Aviation fuel supply is not as critically affected, he said.

For further information

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations - InterOil Corporation

Ph: (675) 321 7040

Mobile (675) 684 5168




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