SAMOANS SAVE AMERICAN SAMOANS FROM FUEL CRISIS

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By Terry Tavita

APIA, Samoa (Oct. 20, 2002 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---"I think the American Samoa government should personally thank their counterparts in Samoa, especially the shipping service there, for the fast and efficient service in getting the needed gasoline over."

This was the opinion from a Pago Pago source contacted by the Samoa Observer to find out the situation regarding petrol supplies in the neighboring American territory.

According to the source, life is pretty much back to normal in American Samoa after the latest rush of petrol supplies by sea from Apia.

The long queues at petrol stations, which had become a feature of American Samoan life since the petrol crisis started are gone.

The crisis could have been a great deal worse if it wasn¹t for the Samoan ships MV Lady Naomi and Fotu-o-Samoa ferrying over 300 tons of unleaded gasoline and 250 tons of diesel fuel.

In all the two boats undertook a total of 10 trips.

The crisis was sparked when a fuel tanker was not allowed to unload in American Samoa because its fuel did not comply with recently enforced environmental rules.

"Much has been said in the media lately about the problems in our relationship," the Pago Pago source continued.

"But people here must take into account how Samoa did not hesitate to send over oil supplies using their ships when we were in crisis.

"As they say, o le uo i aso uma ae uso i aso vale (friends everyday, but brothers in times of crisis.)"

He was referring in part to complaints regarding the large number of Samoans residing in American Samoa, often illegally.

At the height of the gasoline crisis in American Samoa, the roads in the territory were near deserted as petrol stations ran dry.

People could not go to work and mothers and children could not do their White Sunday shopping because hardly any transport was available.

Businesses and government were also badly affected.

The crisis began when fuel carried by the tanker did not comply with American Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifications that had recently been applied.

It did not contain an additive that reduces the level of gas emissions

According to an irate driver interviewed by Samoa News, American Samoans have been breathing foul air from the fish canneries on Pago Pago Harbour for years. "I don’t see any reason why a bit more car fume in the air would harm anyone," the driver said.

Four fuel tankers are expected to arrive in the territory before the end of the month, bringing supplies back to normal.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tauese Sunia has also pointed the finger at the government officials and fuel farm managers as contributors to the petrol shortage.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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