Express Pelican is suffocating passengers - Solomon Star News

Express Pelican is suffocating passengers

28 November 2017

Dear Editor – I was very excited when my plans to go home after a decade, for festive holidays last year, turns out positive.

My children were all excited and knowing that we will be in Auki, Malaita in just two hours onboard Express Pelican, it was a travel worth looking forward to.

We tucked away all our luggage in the car early that morning inorder to get a good space onboard Express Pelican which travels in the mornings – a very good timing because passengers arrive in Auki during daytime.

We were already onboard the fast craft, settled and ready to depart. We were very excited and looked forward to a joyous ride.

At first, we were expecting the steaming heat in the cabin to cool off when the ship departed. We waited and less than an hour into the journey, nothing changed.

Infact the heat kept on accelerating and the bad odor kept circulating. The heat in the cabin got worse and worse.

Everyone started to get weak and grasp for air. The boat was only approaching Gela and the heat in the cabin was already unbearable.

I looked at my kids and knew one of them will soon get fainted. They were very weak. Everyone in the cabins were weak, sweating and grasping for fresh air.

The boat was packed and you can never move an inch to get some fresh air. I knew something bad was going to happen such as someone will suffocate and lost their breath.

We call on the boat crew to help, but they said the Air Conditioning was not working. Now that was really a silly thing to tell passengers. The boat gets high sea fares from passengers and they knew well the busy schedule during the festive season.

Express Pelican management should fix the boat’s air conditioning well ahead. Was it negligence? Was it robbing passengers? Or was it pure carelessness for people’s wellbeing and lives?

Marine and police authorities should go and inspect the boat now. I heard from a friend just this week, the air conditioning is still not fixed.

Police and Marine authorities, do not do reactive policing. Be proactive, go and check Express Pelican out, do not wait until someone suffocates and dies.

C’mon Mr police commissioner, be proactive and check this ignorant management out. Passengers should sue the Express Pelican Management if something worse occurs. Be careful, you’re servicing Malaita people.

Do not prioritise money, but prioritise the safety and comfort of your passengers. Do not take advantage of the fact that people will still come to you because of shipping demand during this festive season.

This is your responsibility. Fix the air condition now. I am planning to check out your air condition this coming weeks when I travel to Malaita, and if it is still not fixed, I am going to condemn you and rubbish you publicly again for the poor service and keep calling on authorities to deal with you and prosecute you for negligence.

Safe and enjoy your festive travels.

Derick Kono