COAST GUARD ORDERS Y2K CLOSURE OF PORT OF PAGO PAGO

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By Tootoo Aleki

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---Even if the Y2K computer bug does not cause a breakdown in local shipping services, the fear of such a breakdown has led the U.S. Coast Guard to order the local port closed as of 11:00 p.m., Thursday December 30th.

The port will reopen at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, January 1.

The 45-hour closure was ordered this week by the United States Coast Guard regional headquarters in Honolulu.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain G.J. Kanazawa said Pago Pago port will be closed to "all routine commercial vessel traffic and operations."

The closure will not affect recreational boating.

The order was specific on the type of operation to be closed.

"Conditions of closure include no transfer operations, no vessel movements within the port, and no vessel arrivals or departures.

"Vessels and port facilities are restricted from conducting any internal or external movement of oil, fuel oil or hazardous substance during this critical time period."

 

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY FOR Y2K IN AMERICAN SAMOA

By Tootoo Aleki

PAGO POGO, American Samoa (December 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Port of Pago Pago will be closed December 31st and January 1st.

The Pago Pago International Airport will not accept international flights on December 31.

A 'round the clock special watch will be held for seven days stretching from the last week of 1999 to the first week of the new year/century/millennium.

The moves are to minimize the possibility of any Y2K disasters in American Samoa.

The ASG computers are Y2K compliant, according to the government, but TEMCO director Faamausili Tony Pola is being extra careful.

"I know a special task force on Y2K has provided a report to the governor, but the departments in that report merely provided positive assurances that their computers were compliant," said Faamausili in an interview with Samoa News last week.

"This is why we are taking drastic measures to ensure that any danger from the possible blunders of computer breakdowns will be minimized," he continued.

"The Coast Guard will close off the ports at sea on Thursday December 30th, while the airport will not accept any international flights landing or taking off on Friday, December 31," except the flights to Samoa.

Hawaiian Airlines have reportedly shifted its normal Friday flight to Thursday the 30th.

"We are holding a special 'round the clock watch for seven days," Faamausili said, "having all sections of the emergency divisions on alert, with our First Response Team on standby alert.

"The FRT consists of Police, Fire, ASPA, EMS, Public Works, DOE, Samoan Affairs, Communications, and Lt. Governor Togiola Tulafono as the Government Authorized Representative for FEMA."

While the FRT will be on standby, the Special Task Force on Y2K will be on duty 24 hours a day during the special watch.

"We're at an advantage, in that we are the last nation to hit the year 2000," he added. "This allows us to observe if there are any computer mishaps or a major emergency on the other side of the dateline, 24 hours before year 2000 arrives on us."

The services affected by a computer crash most likely would be electricity, water, gas, phones, sewage and travel according to Faamausili.

His office is concerned mostly about loss of water supply. "A person can go without food for a week, but he cannot go for more than few days without water," he continued.

"This is why FEMA stresses preparedness in every home to be for four days at least," he added, "and businesses should prepare ahead, for imported goods may be affected."

Faamausili said his office is holding the special alert watch, because there is no certainty the computers controlling the necessary services and utilities on island are fully Y2K compliant.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com. For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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