Port Admin asked to address serious problems at Aunu'u & Auasi wharfs
Representative Talaimatai Elisara Su’a is appealing to the Director of Port Administration, Taimalelagi Claire Tuia Poumele to look into concerns that have been raised by the OPAD Director — for the Port to comply with ADA (American Disabilities Act) by ensuring the wharfs in both Auasi and Aunu’u are accessible for the disabled.
Talamatai in two separate letters to the Port Director pointed out there’s a much needed cleaning of moss growth across the stairs leading to both docks, and there have been recent incidences where passengers making their way to the boats have slipped on the stairs and sustained injuries.
The faipule also noted to Taimalelagi that he met with Deputy Director Chris King who spoke of the construction of a gangway for disabled passengers to move on and off the boats. “This would include ramps to safely and effectively move to and from the dock."
“I understand that there is much work needed for this particular project, including design and calculations of weight and balance. I am also aware of that the obstacle we must first overcome is funding,” the faipule wrote and extended his full support in identifying possible funding sources, saying with concerted effort this project can successfully be underway, and avoid further demands by OPAD for compliance.
Also in his letter, Talaimatai expressed concern about the current depth of both wharfs, where storms and hurricanes have caused some of the retaining and protective seawalls to collapse narrowing the entrance to the wharf. “This makes it difficult to navigate in and out of the docking stations; there have been incidences of vessels that have collided with rocks as the boats often drift during docking,” he said.
Talamatai further stated that another major problem with the wharfs is the depth of the water. “Over the years, sand has washed into the wharfs making the water dangerously shallow for vessels. “During low-tide, there is very little skippers can do to avoid running into exposed coral and the boulders that have fallen from the seawalls,” he wrote.
The faipule noted that this year several boats collided with the rocks causing damage to their hulls and fortunately, there were no serious injuries resulting from the collisions. “I know being a former captain of a passenger boat, that major injury or possibly even death is inevitable if nothing is done soon.”
Another issue Talaimatai pointed out is the sand mounds which have developed near the entrance of both wharfs. “This sand build-up causes waves to break again, this makes navigation difficult and further complicates the already hazardous state of our wharfs.”
He also said that with more than twenty round trips made every day to ferry passengers between the two islands, it calls for serious attention by the Port Administration into the issues faced by the wharfs in Aunu’u and Auasi.
“I wish not to compare the frequency of similar commuting in other districts — but in Aunu’u we experience an exodus of more than half of the island on a daily basis as residents go to and from work and school. “The exposure of residents who do this on a daily basis is unacceptable,” said Talaimatai. He appealed to the Port Director to make time to visit both wharfs so she can view firsthand the condition of the wharfs.
Samoa News would like to point out that a boat traveling between Aunu’u and Auasi flipped over recently while passengers were in the boat. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.
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