COVID-19: Government suspends inter-island shipping services

Inter-island vessels docked at Port Mua-i-Walu. Picture: FT FILE/ANA MADIGIBULI

GOVERNMENT has ordered the suspension of inter-island shipping services from Sunday March 29.

In an earlier interview Patterson Brothers Shipping spokesperson Daniel Patterson said shipping companies were anticipating closure especially with the restrictions already put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.

“We are ready to cease operations if Government makes the call or to only transport those in the essential services and necessities such as food items and medications to the North if the directive to stop movement of people in future comes about,” he said.

“We understand the need to limit movements and the company is ready to adhere to any bans set up by Government.”

Meanwhile speaking from Japan yesterday, Goundar Shipping Limited executive director George Goundar said they were also considering ceasing operations later this week as passenger numbers decline sharply.

Mr Goundar said their Government franchise trips left Suva for the outlying islands like the Lau Group on Wednesday this week.

“I am worried about the transportation of basic necessities and those needing emergency services during any proposed lockdown period,” he said.

“We will be talking to Government of the chances of banning travel for individuals but allowing the transportation of basic necessities if things become to worse.”

More Stories