Sinking in the wrong place

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BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

BIKOI 1 is sinking near Tulaghi town’s undersea water supply pipeline, and there is nothing coming from authorities raising concerns from locals.

There’s fear over the impacts of the ship’s sinking on the environment, oil spills, and damage to the nearby water supply pipes.

The Premier of the Central province Hon Patrick Vasuni has given a strong call for its removal, saying his government will soon claim fee for its overdue anchorage.

“We are yet on track trying to query who the owner of the ship is to ask for its removal because it is raising concern that it might only be left there to be neglected now,” said the Premier.

“Our province is no ship dumping site so we are now asking the owner of the ship to remove it if it has no purpose in the province.”

According to Silent World Officers in Tulaghi, the ship was supposed to go up the slipway for maintenance but because of non-payment of fees it was anchored instead at the Sasape sea area further behind Tulaghi Island.

Locals living near Sasape speaking to this paper said that the ship’s rope had broken off allowing sea currents to wreck the ship where it is submerged now.

Speaking with the Acting Director of Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Authority (SIMSA) Captain Tim Harris, he assured that he will speak with the Director of Operations to see how they can address the issue.

“I will see what we can do about this particular issue but it is the owner’s responsibility to get the ship out of dangerous situations,” said the SIMSA Acting Director.

Owning Bikoi 1 during the past was Bikoi Shipping Company, but it is said that they had gone into bankruptcy meaning the ship is now owned by someone else.

Further enquiries to who is really the owner of the ship is still under investigation as Island Sun is striving to get to the bottom of this issue.

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