SOLOMON Ports Chief Executive Officer Mr. Eranda Kotelawala has responded to concerns raised by boat owners using the Mbokona Bay landing area after it was closed last week on Thursday.
Mr. Kotewala said the main reason behind the closure of the landing area was due to safety concerns raised by the police and members of the public.
He said Solomon Ports has received reports and witnessed boat users /owners engaging in illegal activities such as the selling alcohol and other illegal drugs.
“We already had multiple discussions with the boat owners and users, but they fail to follow the required procedures, they continue to repeat it,” he said.
“People use this area as a drinking place and there a lot of minors around, which is not what this place is meant for.”
Mr. Kotewala also added, another main reason behind the site’s closure was the practice of selling fuel illegally, where recently one of the fuel drums caught fire, risking the lives of people and nearby buildings including the nearby fuel depot.
He said the site is SIPA property and the boats are only allowed to use the area on a temporary basis.
“We are a responsible organization and we cannot allow such activities to happen, we have fuel storage tanks next to that area, so we have to ensure safety first, which means no selling of fuel and no naked flames,” he said.
“Any property that belongs to SIPA, we need to ensure safety and security, which is not only to our property but also to other properties within that vicinity.”
He said, as a public entity, the safety and security of SIPA staff and people around the vicinity is the priority.