Pacific Briefs – January 5, 2015


People defy advice to avoid Fiji’s contaminated coast

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun)—Members of the public continue to defy advices to stay away from coastal areas believed to have been affected by the spill from the collapsed sewage trunk line in Nabua, Suva. Despite continuous awareness by the National Disaster Management Office and the Ministry of Health, some people continue to swim at the Suva foreshore on New Year’s Day. It has been weeks since the sewage pipe across the Wainivula Creek Bridge broke following heavy rain in the Central Division. Authorities had issued advisory warnings to people living along the river and along the Suva foreshore from Vatuwaqa to Nasese to avoid any contact with the water. Yesterday some people took to the waters at Laucala Bay despite the warning of water contamination. Talei Nautoko, among the picnickers, said, “I came to swim with my family and we enjoy coming here every year. I did not know this place was restricted,” Ms Nautoko said. Meanwhile, parent Jone Bale, said they decided to swim in the sea because they did not see any health advisory. “We did not know that this place was banned and we did not see a sign anywhere. Maybe if the sign was a bit bigger then we would see it,” Mr Bale said. However, some Police officers were dispatched to the area to keep people from swimming or harvesting marine life from the area.

Polynesian Airlines can continue servicing Manu‘a route
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International)—The U.S. government has given the Samoan government-owned Polynesian Airlines the thumbs up to continue flights to Manu’a for the whole of this month. The carrier has been servicing the Manu’a-Tutuila route since September via 30-day cabotage waivers from the US Department of Transportation. The Polynesian Airlines waiver had expired on Wednesday. In anticipating the unavailability of a US carrier to service Manu’a, Polynesian petitioned earlier last month for a 30-day extension through January 2015. In its ruling, the Department of Transport Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Susan Kurland, says the approval starts today and ends January 29th or until five days after a US carrier initiates an intra-American Samoa passenger operations whichever occurs first. The federal agency is deferring action on Polynesian’s request to operate flights beyond January 29, 2015. Miss Kurland adds that the absence of U.S. carrier passenger service while Inter Island Airways’ aircraft is out of service, constitutes an emergency created by unusual circumstances not arising in the normal course of business. She says based on the record, no U.S. carrier has an aircraft available that could be used to conduct the operations at issue here. She also found that the grant of this authority to Polynesian would prevent unreasonable hardship to the residents of American Samoa.

Jun Dayao Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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