MALAITA Outer Islands (MOI) are in need of wharves to ensure safety of passengers and cargo when loading and off-loading.
At the moment, the islands don’t have wharves.
Passengers have to disembark from floating ships at sea into outboard motor canoes and transported to their villages.
The same is done when loading and off-loading cargoes.
The Solomon Star recently took a trip to Luaniua, one of the two islands that make up MOI.
“In the islands here, there’s no such thing as a wharf,” one resident told me.
“When the ships come, we have to get the outboard motor canoes out there to get passengers and cargoes from the ships to the shore,” he added.
“It’s not a safe way of delivering passengers and cargoes to the islands, but what else can we do?
“Sometimes people get hurt. Other times, we lost cargoes and other goods when loading and off-loading.
“These happened when the sea was rough.
“There were one or two occasions where people fell overboard while trying to get out of the ships into the boats,” the resident said.
Another resident said they only wish the government build a wharf where they could safely board or disembark ships going to the islands.
“We call on both provincial and national governments to consider building a wharf or wharves for us.”
During our visit, we witnessed the situation and it was very risky for passengers.
Loading and off-loading of bulky goods were all done at the sea.
OBM boats would berth side of the ships and loading or unloading would take place.
There you can see people throwing heavy goods down into the boats where someone would be ready to catch them.
While the ship’s crane was used to load products like copra and timbers, passengers would stand and watch as the crane swing over their heads with loads – a very risky situation indeed.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO