Thursday 8th April 2021 Upolu Samoa. The Samoa Shipping Corporation (SSC) are expecting an influx of passengers over the next 48 hours, as Savaii residents living in Upolu make their way across to the Big Island in time for polling tomorrow.
Chief Executive Officer of SSC Leiataualetaua Samuel Phineas says in response, the Corporation will run four ferries continuously from 6am until 8pm, over the next two days.
Seen helping out his team at the Mulifanua wharf amidst the Thursday morning rush, Leiataualetaua said the two main ferries making round trips between the two islands are the Lady Samoa 3 and the newest addition to the fleet, Samoa Express 2.
“In between those trips, the Samoa Express 1 and the Fotu o Samoa 2 will also be running to help out,” he says.
“So we have trips leaving both ports every two hours from 6am, 8am, 10am.., right up to 8pm – that will be the last trip leaving from Savaii to Upolu, and Upolu to Savaii,” he added.
Amendments to Samoa’s Electoral Act has removed the opportunity for special voting booths, where voters unable to travel to their constituencies on polling day, could still cast their ballots.
This election, Savaii registered voters who used to be able to vote in Upolu, are now required to travel across and physically vote at a booth located within the constituency for which they are registered.
The State Owned Enterprise in charge of Samoa’s ferry services between the two islands has stepped up to ensure no voter is left behind.
“If there are more passengers early tomorrow morning (Friday) then there will be additional trips for these two small ferries, the Samoa Express1 and the Fotu o Samoa 2”, assures the man in charge of Samoa Shipping Corporation.
“The plan for today is exactly the same as tomorrow – starting with an early morning 6am sailing, right up to 8 in the evening..
Leiataualetaua says it will all depend on the demand of the people, and if there are a lot of people waiting, they will load up the smaller vessels in between those standard times.
“E mafai lava ona iai malaga faaopoopo a vaa laiti nei e lua e muamua atu i luma o le 6, ina ia maua e nai tagata le palota.”