Story and picture by GABRIEL FITO
DIESEL at all fuel outlets in Wewak, East Sepik province, ran dry last Saturday evening as a ship loaded with fuel and other consumables could not berth at the Wewak wharf following rumours of a sea well at the weekend.
The situation remained unchanged at the two service stations in Wewak yesterday but The National was informed that the situation would improve today.
InterOil Wewak depot management could not be reached for comments yesterday.
However, reliable sources said the ship had berthed yesterday morning and was expected to discharge fuel to the tanks today after all clearance was done.
The source said that the remaining stock of diesel at the depot had been depleted at the weekend, creating the opportunity for black markets to set high mark-ups for diesel.
Last Saturday evening, a four-liter plastic container at the black market outside Kapmandu service station along Cathedral Road was selling for K35 while the 15-liter container was K200.
Consequently, PMVs which bought diesel from black-markets, increased bus fares from 60 toea to K1 for urban routes while rural buses and trucks were charging K1.50 from the current K1 in order to sustain their operation.
Chairman of the East Sepik PMV association John Nawa yesterday challenged InterOil to improve efficiency in its service delivery in light on the ongoing fuel shortage in the province.
Mr Nawa said shortage of fuel in the province had been a cause of concern all throughout the year for businesses, the residents of Wewak and the entire 500,000 people of East Sepik and parts of Sandaun who have been badly hit by the non-stop fuel shortage.
He said the association was very concerned and would approach relevant government authorities for their support to allow competition in the market now solely dominated by InterOil so that service delivery would improve.