Petrol back on Rarotonga but motorists urged to be considerate

A petrol station in Rarotonga Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

The Cook Islands’ petrol stations have been filled up through a ship delivery, but fuel providers are urging people to be conservative.

The Cook Islands News quoted Toa Petroleum owner Brett Porter saying the company acquired petrol from the container ship Imua, which arrived over the weekend.

Petrol ran out on Rarotonga for much of last week, the second time it has run out in the space of two months.

“It’s going to be enough for the next few days while we wait for the next shipment to arrive,” Porter said.

“This will have to last us a while, so we urge consumers to be conservative.”

He said that shipment would have to last until mid-January at least.

Deliveries have been delayed due to bad weather with one vessel having to be diverted to Niue.

Cook Islands Ports Authority harbour master John Jessie said the container ship Liloa was due to arrive today carrying a mixture of petrol, diesel and LPG.

He said another fuel tanker was due to arrive on December 22.

Price Tribunal chairman Louis Enoka said he had been in touch with stakeholders, as Rarotonga grappled with a lack of petrol over the past week.

“It’s inevitable this sort of thing will happen again,” he said.

“The current shipping situation is dire. We’re at the mercy of several elements. We don’t even register as a decimal point for some of these big fuel suppliers. And while we’re focusing on fuel, the reality is that there’s a lot of other commodities affected too.”

Enoka said there could be a focus on ensuring shipments carry more stock.

“We’ve had a number of discussions with providers, but we’re a very small fish in the grand scheme of things,” he said.

Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rebecca Tavioni said the past week was a good reminder for businesses to keep petrol reserves in stock.

“Everyone is keeping a watchful eye on things. There is the need to hold reserves so people are best placed when something like this happens,” Tavioni said.