IRREGULAR SHIPPING SERVICES AFFECTS ATOLL SIKAIANA
Communities in Sikaiana in Malaita Outer Islands are in desperate need of food and medicine, and three elders of the Sikaiana community in Honiara have come forward to call for help to get a boat to send supplies to the islands.
No ship has been to Sikaiana in six months, after the Government-funded shipping franchise expired.
Representing the Sikaiana Council of Chiefs, Patrick Peaka told SIBC News, the current shipping situation is almost as worst as in the fifties and sixties when a ship would only go to the island once a year.
“We have been without a regular shipping service for six months and this is having adverse effects on us, especially on land where food gardens are not producing, store owners are without cargo or goods to sell and to make it worse is the absence of a doctor on the island.”
Meanwhile, the Director for Civil Engineering at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Harry Rini says tenders for the franchise has closed, and a shipping service to Sikaiana should be established within the next couple of months.
“The tender process has been completed by the committee, having gone through all the applicants who have applied and so the service to Sikaiana will be expected to up and running in the next few months.”