The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ports Authority, So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo.
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 12 NOVEMBER 2020: The Samoa Ports Authority (SPA) has confirmed that three boats were declined entrance into the Apia harbour since the State of Emergency was declared in March 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ports Authority, So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo said the authority has worked closely with the Ministry of Health, Customs and Police to monitor ships and vessels coming into the country under the SOE.
As of Wednesday, 346 ships including 96 container vessels, 15 oil tankers and fishing vessels have been to Samoa since the SOE.
“We have rejected three ships, a container vessel and 2 fishing boats because they failed to comply with our SOE criteria to provide proof of tests conducted at the last port they visited,” said So’oalo.
No boat or vessel is allowed entrance without going through the process out at sea, and once cleared and then a local captain will bring the boat into the harbour.
So’oalo said since the SOE, they practised a coordinated approach where they work together with other government agencies to ensure the safety and security of Samoa at its borders.
“The best protection for Samoa is to close all borders, airports and ports, but the port has to stay open for the needed supplies,” he said.
So’oalo explained that containers offloaded from the vessel Fesco Askold that later confirmed 3 infected Covid-19 cases in American Samoa on Monday night, also went through the same process, and was cleared to enter after satisfying all aspects of the SOE.
“It unloaded 143 containers and took on-board 63 trans-shipment and empty containers before heading to American Samoa on Sunday,” said So’oalo.
While in the Apia port, none of the crew was allowed to leave the vessel, and the unloading was done by locals.
He also said that the 143 containers unloaded went through a sterilization process.