PASSENGERS traveling on board Express Pelican to Malaita on Saturday expressed fear and shock when the fast craft’s engine abruptly stopped, less than an hour away to Auki.
The incident happened mid-morning during the vessel’s Friday trip to the Malaita provincial capital.
“We’ve already passed Alite reef and heading towards the Auki harbour when the ship’s engine suddenly stopped while at high speed,” one passenger told the Solomon Star at the scene.
“It was a real shock, but our fears quickly disappeared when we realised that although the engine had stopped, we were still floating,” he added.
“We’ve been floating for about an hour now.”
Outboard motor canoes were quickly dispatched to the vessel from Auki, where they picked up passengers and took them to Auki wharf.
The captain was too busy to talk to the Solomon Star as he was attending to passengers, but crew members spoken to, said it was just a minor mechanical problem.
Local boat MV Ferafaita, also on its way to Auki from Honiara, came to Express Pelican’s rescue and helped it to get its engine re-started.
But the engine was not functioning fully and it took the fast craft an extra hour to reach Auki.
which also headed to Auki came in a rescue and rescues the Pelican Express.
MV Ferafaita pulls the craft (Express) till its engine kick-starts.
Attempt to talk with the Captain futile as he was too busy but crews spoken to said that is was just a minor mechanical fault.
The problem forced several passengers to recourse on OBMs at the same time passengers call on the craft responsible authorities to make sure the ship is safe before sailing.
“It’s the lives of people and ensuring people’s safety is vital.”
It took almost four hours for the ship to reach Auki because of the mechanical fault faces.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO