Timber freight suddenly banned
The Samoa Shipping Corporation (S.S.C.) has immediately halted timber shipments from Savai’i to Upolu, on orders from the Prime Minister’s Office and without any further explanation for the disruption to the trade.
The Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of the shipping corporation, Leiataua Samuel Phineas told the Samoa Observer that an order putting a stop to timber freight had come from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The ban took effect on Friday 11 June, disallowing the transportation of Samoan lumber from the big island to the mainland.
Leiataua said this is not the first time such a ban had been put in place to stop the shipment of Samoan timber from Savai'i to Upolu.
However, Leiataua could not disclose the reasons behind the ban, asking that this newspaper should seek clarifications from the C.E.O. of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (M.P.M.C.), Agafili Shem Leo.
"I am not the person to ask for the reasons behind the ban," Leiataua told the Samoa Observer.
"You would get clarifications from the office of the Prime Minister. We only followed the orders that came from the office of the Prime Minister.
"So you need to ask them for the reasons behind it.
"is not the first time they have made this call.
"They gave out orders to ban the transportation of Samoan timber from Savai'i last year, but they lifted that ban earlier this year, I'm not sure but I think it was lifted in May."
However, Leiataua assumes that the reason could be related to land and the boundaries between the different villages that exports timber from Savai'i.
"But again, that is something you need to confirm from Agafili and the Office of the Prime Minister.
"Our [S.S.C.] involvement is to implement the order from the office of the Prime Minister, to control and make sure that there will be no more shipments of timbers from Savai'i."
Attempts to secure a comment from Agafili providing reasons for the ban were unsuccessful.
The Samoa Shipping Corporation also notified the public via a Facebook Post on their Facebook Account.
"Be informed that effective Friday 11 June 2021, the transportation of Samoan lumber/timber from Savaii to Upolu is now banned until further notice," the post reads.
"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but pray for your understanding as we carry out appropriate measures to ensure no cargo of Samoan timber is shipped over to Mulifanua on any S.S.C. vessel.
"Any further questions please contact our main office."