Olo apologises for ferry delay

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 04 June 2023, 4:53PM

The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure has issued a formal public apology to the public for the lengthy delay in the ferry schedule last Friday. 

Olo Fiti Va'ai who is the Member of Parliament for Salega No.2 issued his apology on Sunday afternoon giving assurance that there will be no repetition of what happened in the future. 

He emphasised that the incident is "not a reflection of the government's stance". However, there has been no reason given as to why the delay happened.

"As the responsible Minister of Transportation, I apologise to everyone who was affected by this occurrence," Olo said. 

"I apologise on behalf of my staff and the Government. I also sincerely apologise for the inconvenience. 

"I understand the frustration and inconvenience that this caused and I am committed to ensuring that such disruptions do not recur in the future. 

"Thank you for understanding."

This newspaper on Sunday, reported that local authorities were slammed for delaying the inter-island ferry service on Friday afternoon to wait for a Chinese delegation and local Members of Parliament who had visited Savai'i.

The inter-island ferry service on Friday afternoon – scheduled to travel to Mulifanua wharf from Salelologa in Savai'i – was delayed for over three hours with Samoa Shipping Corporation (S.S.C.) staff coming under a barrage of criticism from travellers waiting to travel to Upolu. 

One of the passengers on the vessel, Solialofi Paulo Lavea, said the long delay had ruined their plans as they had to travel to Upolu for a family event and were already on the ferry by 3.30 pm with the boat scheduled to depart at 4 pm.

However, all passengers on Samoa Express II were later informed by the captain that there would be a delay as they were waiting for the visiting Chinese delegation as well as the Members of Parliament to get on board before they left Savai'i for Upolu. 

Having confirmation from the captain of the delay, Solialofi said her biggest concern was finding a vehicle to pick them up upon their arrival at Mulifanua, as it was late and there were no public buses operating to take them to town. 

"It would have been nice if they had an additional special trip for the Chinese delegation and just let us leave at 4 pm as scheduled," she said. "Also it would have been nice if the delegation had paid for taxi or transportation for us who do not have vehicles."

Another concerned citizen, who spoke to the Samoa Observer on the condition of anonymity, said they waited for more than three hours at Salelologa for the foreign delegation members to arrive. 

He also expressed disappointment that the officials working at the Salelologa wharf were the target of criticism by members of the public on Friday evening when they were just following instructions from "people at the top". 

A senior official working at the Salelologa wharf – who is not authorised to speak to the media – responded to questions from this newspaper by saying "They were just following instructions". 

Attempts by Samoa Observer to get comments from the C.E.O. for S.S.C. Leiataua Samuel Phineas on Saturday was unsuccessful. 

Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt was scheduled to appear on the Soalepule program on EFKS TV on Friday evening but the program was delayed and started at 9 pm due to the late arrival of the leader from Savai'i. 

La'auli explained on the program that he was in Savai'i for the first harvest display at Palauli No. 2 constituency and also went to his constituency where they had a meeting with the Chinese delegation before they travelled back to Apia in the evening.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 04 June 2023, 4:53PM
Samoa Observer

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