OECUSSE TO DILI REPLACEMENT FERRY CAUSES SAFETY CONCERNS

Oecusse enews picThere are concerns that the two Indonesian ferries contracted to replace Berlin Nakroma are putting passengers’ lives at risk and with the onset of the wet season it is feared conditions will become worse. Timor-Leste’s only ferry, the Berlin Nakroma carries passengers between Dili and the enclave of Oecusse .In October the Nakroma was sent to Jakarta, Indonesia for maintenance. Two months later the Government contracted Indonesia to send two replacement ferries – the Raja Tiga Empat and the Tiga Anugrah allowing passengers to continue to travel by sea between Oecusse and Dili.

Journalists from Atoni-Lifau Oecusse interviewed one passenger who recently travelled from Oecusse to Dili on the replacement ferry. Jasinta Mendes Guterres said she was very worried about the conditions of both boats and felt that passengers’ lives were at risk. Ms Guterres said “I was traumatized, the currents were very strong, the ship was very unsteady and I felt like we were going to capsize.”

Another passenger Januario dos Remedius predicted that conditions would become worse with the onset of the wet season and increasing storms. He said, “If the Government doesn’t make a decision soon to change both ferries this will create disaster.” Mr Remedius intends to approach the Ministry of Transportation and Communication and urge the Ministry to take action to avoid this potential disaster.

Peger de Fatima, RCAL

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