10-hour wait claim

FRUSTRATED passengers claimed they waited almost 10 hours yesterday before boarding a ship at Nabouwalu jetty.

Passengers of Patterson Shipping Ltd who contacted this newspaper claimed they waited at the jetty from 2.30am as they were scheduled to board the vessel at 3.30am.

Harish Chand, who accompanied his family to Nabouwalu, described the situation as chaotic.

“There was a lot of disorder with so many vehicles on the wharf which caused a traffic jam and passengers being confused whether they should board the ship,” Mr Chand claimed.

“We came from Labasa and left home at midnight because we didn’t want to miss the 3.30am trip but we were told to wait for the next ship.”

Another passenger Ian Chute (Jr) claimed they were left in the dark and not informed of what was happening.

The company clarified that they were catering for backlogs from the Easter weekend. Company spokesperson David Patterson said their ships had reached maximum capacity yesterday morning, adding they were working on transporting all stranded passengers who could not get across to Viti Levu because of the recent adverse weather.

Mr Patterson said the stranded passengers included those who could not travel on Monday and Tuesday this week.

“We are appealing to passengers to please bear with us as we try and clear off our backlogs,” he said.

“As of now we are not taking any new bookings for tomorrow (today) and Friday.

“We had cleared our backlogged passengers in Levuka yesterday.”

Mr Patterson also clarified that there had been 184 passengers aboard the Spirit of Altruism when it ran aground on a reef near Naigani Island on Monday and not 134 as earlier reported.

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