The National, Monday October 28th, 2013
By ELLEN TIAMU
THOUSANDS of people living in the Morobe Patrol Post area, who heavily rely on sea transport, have been left high and dry after services provided by mv Rainforest were halted earlier this month, a community leader says.
Morobe local level government ward 16 ward councillor Gayang Niaura said on Saturday the mv Rainforest, bought by former MP Sasa Zibe, discontinued operations from coastal areas in Morobe to Lae three weeks ago.
An estimated 15,000 people, who relied on the service had been suffering since, he said.
He said there were no air or road services from most areas, from the Huon Gulf electorate to Lae.
Niaura said that meant people relied heavily on sea travel. “People have prepared garden food and betel nuts to sell in Lae, but these have gone bad because the boat is no longer travelling,” he said.
Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour had complained that fares collected from passengers should go into the district’s coffers because the vessel was bought with approval from the joint district budget priority committee and should not be owned by the Morobe LLG.
Morobe is one of three LLGs in the Huon Gulf district.
“Two or three people cannot hold people to ransom because of political differences and I hope they resolve their differences soon and the boat resumes operations because people badly need the service,” Niaura said.