An old tuna boat that sank off the Lata wharf, Temotu Province, a decade ago has begun leaking oil, prompting a resident to call on authorities to clean up the wreck before the oil spillage turns into an environmental disaster.
In an email sent to this paper yesterday, Mr. Cedric T Williams, a resident of Lata, said the wreckage has started releasing oil into the sea.
Mr. Williams said one other issue being brought up by ship owners and operators over the past 10 years is the space of sunken ship occupies.
“Complaints have been raised on the public forums over and over again but it has fallen on deaf ears. Further complaints have since emerged when the sunken ship starts spilling oil in nearby sea areas.”
He said the ongoing debate on social media blamed the Temotu Provincial Government led by Premier Clay Forau, a former foreign minister.
Mr. Forau has since said that successive provincial governments have notified the relevant authorities including the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA), but said all the communication had fallen on deaf ears.
“With the seriousness of the oil spillage, the Temotu public is now calling on the government to act swiftly to rectify the issue before it causes further damage to the environment. More so, we are calling on our Members of Parliament to approach the appropriate authorities particularly the Minister of Infrastructure Development and SIMSA to act on the issue immediately,” he said.
Mr. Williams said now that the provincial government has done its part, the onus is on the Member of the Parliament to urge authorities to fix the problem.
The wreck is of the ship MV Tremax which sank at Lata Wharf in 2019. The ship was reportedly owned and operated by the late Tom Numomalo.
An attempt to refloat the ship shortly after it sank was unsuccessful.
By FOLLET JOHN