Inter-island ferry service resumes

By Vaelei Von Dincklage 16 April 2020, 7:00AM

The inter-island ferry service between Savai’i and Upolu resumed on Wednesday morning after the Cabinet relaxed a number of state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders.

A spokesperson for the Samoa Shipping Corporation at Matautu confirmed when questioned by Samoa Observer that it is business as usual for the ferry service.

“The ferry schedule will be the same from 6am as their first trip and 4pm for their last trips. Our fees will not change as well,” she said.

The fares currently are $6 for children (2 years to 12 years old), $12 for an adult and children under 2 years of age are free of charge.

But not everyone welcomed the first ferry service on Wednesday following the relaxing of some of the SOE orders, with a bus driver telling Samoa Observer that it was a “waste of petrol”, as he only picked up six passengers from the Mulifanua wharf.

The man, who did not wish to be identified and is a driver for Pasi o Vaa, said he was at the Mulifanua wharf and saw less than 30 passengers disembarked from the MV Fotu o Samoa II.

“I was grateful and excited to work again today, and I was thinking that maybe today is a good day because perhaps a lot of people were stranded in Savai’i, perhaps there will be many coming over,” he said.

“The ferry that came this morning, there were probably less than 30 people that came on it, I only had six passengers in my bus today. It was no use for me, such a waste of petrol.”

However, Savai’i resident Tausaga Tomasi was elated at the resumption of the ferry service, and told Samoa Observer that she had been waiting for the service to resume as she needed to return home. 

“I have a vegetable garden and I work at my garden every day. I usually sell my produce at the Salelologa market to get by each day. I am just happy that I can finally go home and work in my garden again,” she said.

Mrs Tomasi stayed with her son-in-law’s family when the inter-island ferry service was temporarily closed last month, following the declaration of the SOE and kept on checking staff at the Corporation’s head office. 

When she heard of the resumption, she initially thought it was “fake news” until the office receptionist confirmed it.

“The receptionist has told me that I can go now, so I will be going home to pack and try and catch the last trip to Savaii,” she said.

The inter-island ferry service will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays only.

By Vaelei Von Dincklage 16 April 2020, 7:00AM
Samoa Observer

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