BY SAMIE WAIKORI
MALAITA Provincial Disaster Operation Committee (PDOC) is liaising with Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) and ship-owners on exemption of cargo boats to the province.
Chairman of PDOC Charles Eddie Koto disclosed this to the Island Sun as more cargo boats are expected in the province in coming weeks.
Koto, who is also the acting provincial police commander for Malaita, said at the moment only four boats were granted approval from SIMA and his committee to transport cargo to the province.
He said the boats are MV Florence and MV Ocean Joy owned by Franja shipping and MV La3na and MV Chrismary owned by Aekema shipping.
The ships had their first cargo trips to Auki last week and they will be moving more cargoes across to Auki in the coming weeks.
Koto explained that in order for ships to provide cargo service to the province, they must apply for exemption from SIMA.
He said after SIMA granted them exemptions, SIMA will liaise with PDCO for endorsement before ships can be allowed to service the province.
Koto said exemptions will only be issued provided shipping companies agreed to abide to required COVID protocols to safeguard the public and stop the spread of the virus.
He said the province has received only four cargo boats in Auki so far and PDOC is aware of intentions by shippers to serve other parts of the province.
Koto said recently, PDOC has also endorsed a cargo boat to serve Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) following approval from SIMA.