Shipowner queried over trip to Isabel

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UTA shipping management has been silent over claims they never get approval from the Isabel Provincial Disaster Operation Centre before sailing to Isabel on 12 February 2022.

Island Sun made calls to the owner and Managing Director Selwyn Riumana yesterday but was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile in a letter to the Oversight Committee the Isabel speaker and the Office of the Premier raised their disappointment towards Uta shipping management.

The letter stated that the action of Uta shipping management appears to be a breach of covid19 protocol by M.V. Uta Princess 1, the ship sailed without prior approval from PDOC- Isabel Province.

“We hereby request a full investigation into the matters stated above. Your prompt response into the matter is highly appreciated.

“The Office of the Premier and Speaker prioritizes the health of the people of Isabel, and shipping services wish to travel to the province must help to manage the virus from transmission within the villages in Ysabel Province.

“Firstly, our number one policy is to manage the transmission, we must make sure the outbreak in Honiara do not reach our elders and children in our communities.

“If it does, then we need to be very careful on how we deal with it,” the letter said.

It added shipping service is a critical service to the people because it brings in fuel and cargoes for Buala and other villages, but it can also be the vehicle in which this virus transmits.

“The process put forward by the SIMA and MHMS is very clear, make an application to SIMA and get clearance by Health and get the exemption from Police in consultation with PDOC, Buala, then a trip can be made.

“This is to ensure that we limit the chances of spreading the corona into our villages.

“However, whilst it seems so simple, we are concerned about any crossovers in the protocols.

“How do you offload cargoes on the wharf, on the beaches and in canoes along the coasts?

“What risks does this take? Do we decontaminate cargoes?

“We understand a ship has already sailed into Isabel to Bugotu and Hograno, we also understand that there are few misunderstandings that occur during its first stop-over at Lepi.

“These are the kind of things we want to clear before ships can service our communities so that communities are prepared to handle cargoes.

“Isabel Provincial Government has concern on the process for shipping companies to get exemption from SIMA or the oversight committee as the P-DOC should be informed first before such exemption is granted by the responsible authorities.”

The Premier and the Speaker of the Ysabel Province had further called for ongoing cooperation and understanding at this time of hardship.