Hundreds line up up for hours to get fuel
Mobil Oil Mariana Islands, Inc. reopened three of its gas stations on Saipan today, a day after Super Typhoon Yutu devastated most of the island and placed business on a standstill.
The company said it has opened its Middle Road, Garapan, and Kagman gas stations yesterday. It also assured the public that it has enough fuel to the tide the islands over during the crisis.
“Kindly note that the following three Mobil Service stations are currently open, and will be open for service tomorrow during hours of daylight…We will make updates as other sites open,” the company said in a statement.
Mobil Oil said it is currently completing station assessments on Saipan following Super Typhoon Yutu and will reopen as many of its service stations as possible when it is safe to do so.
“In the meantime, we would like to assure everyone that Mobil has sufficient fuel to meet the needs of the community if the usual purchasing patterns continue. Thus, we would advise customers to purchase only what they need,” the company added.
Mobil Oil said its next tanker is due to arrive for resupply on Nov. 4. “We can bring in more fuel earlier should it be needed,” it said.
The assurance from Mobil Oil is welcome news for island residents and the hundreds of motorists who braved the scorching heat of the midday sun and hunger to line up at the handful of gas stations that were open today.
Manuel Dacuma, 54, said he started queuing at 10:30am at the Mobil Oil gas station along Beach Road in Garapan.
His car, which had some scratches due to Super Typhoon Yutu, was the first in line when its pumps finally opened at 2pm.
“I’ve been here like five hours… For lunch I just bought soda and bread. [I] started lining up at 10:30am,” he said, adding that his car is now running on empty.
Aside from the long line of cars, people with gas cans and containers also lined up with the queue stretching toward the Lollipop’s toy store. The fuel will most probably be used to fill up generators, as the whole of Saipan remained without island power.
An attendant at the Mobil Oil gas station said they opened 2pm because of a problem with their generator. He said there were no limits on the amount customers can buy, but they’re open only until 7pm.
The line of vehicles at the Garapan Mobil gas station stretched north to Cha Café. The scene was worse along Middle Road in Gualo Rai where the two Shell gas stations facing each other resulted in a bottleneck of vehicles and their drivers all eager to gas up.