Central island running out of gas following tanker ban

By Pham Linh   April 20, 2019 | 10:20 pm PT
Central island running out of gas following tanker ban
A gas station has been closed for five days due to lack of supply. Photo by VnExpress/Thach Thao
Ly Son Island residents are hunting for petrol after the island's tankers were banned from sailing on safety considerations.

On Saturday morning, cans in hand, many residents of Ly Son in Quang Ngai Province made their way to the Nhien Phuong gas station on the island's An Vinh Commune in hope of buying some gasoline over fears of an impending fuel shortage.

However, the station had none left to sell.

Tran Thi Phuong, the station's owner, said her company has two wooden ships and the Tien Tri 07, a logistics ship, for transporting gasoline, but border guards have blocked them from returning to the mainland for more supplies.

This has pushed many residents to stockpile gasoline for nearly a week, she said.

Nguyen Xiem, owner of another gas station that has been closed for five days without supplies, said the authorities only allowed the transport of oil, not gasoline.

"We have been serving oil and gasoline to the people for nearly 30 years, but the ban was so sudden that we didn't have enough time to manage," he said.

According to Quang Ngai's transport department, Ly Son is currently home to over 100 seafaring vessels, most of which are gasoline-powered. The gasoline shortage during the tourist season has affected the transport of passengers.

The owner of a canoe that ferries people between islands in the area said many of his peers have had to stop operating, due to lack of gasoline.

A homestay owner on the Small Island complained that customers who’ve made bookings were unable to come because the canoes to the island were not operating.

Huynh Cong Tri, director of Ly Son Port's management board, explained that the island has just three wooden ships belonging to two private businesses that are used to transport gasoline from the mainland.

Following the sinking of a cargo ship in an accident last month, Quang Ngai authorities ordered all cargo ships using the Sa Ky-Ly Son sea route to be re-inspected.

As all three of the ships used for transporting gasoline to Ly Son failed to meet safety requirements, the border guards have forced them to stop operating.

According to Nguyen Viet Vy, Party secretary of Ly Son District, the province's Department of Industry and Trade, border guards and Ly Son authorities have held a meeting to find solutions.

As an immediate measure, the district has allowed logistics ship Tien Tri 07 to transport 30,000 liters (6,600 gallons) of gasoline from the mainland to the island on Saturday.

Other ships would be allowed to transport gasoline once they meet safety requirements.

Local business owners, meanwhile, have asked the authorities to give them a few more months so they could buy metal ships/boats that meet the safety requirements for transporting gasoline.

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