Benzene shortage on Aneityum

By Glenda Willie

Aneityum is currently experiencing a severe benzene shortage, leaving small businesses and local residents struggling to cope with the impact.

The shortage has been ongoing for over two weeks, causing major disruptions to the island’s tourism activities as well as other daily activities that consume benzene.

According to Area Secretary Selwyn Daniel, the shortage has hit small businesses the hardest, especially those that cater for tourists and fishing activities. Skippers are also finding it difficult to make daily trips from the mainland to Mystery Island or even around the island due to the shortage.

Mr. Daniel also revealed that the demand for fuel on the island has increased in recent years, which is one of the reasons for the current shortage. While a few inter-island vessels have visited the island, they can only transport one or two drums of benzene for business individuals.

The situation has become so desperate that a local businessman on the island chartered a flight from Tanna to Aneityum just to transport his three drums of benzene earlier this week, highlighting the critical need for the fuel.

The island is expecting the arrival of MV Touaraken yesterday, to bring more fuel, especially benzene. According to Mr. Daniel, some businesses and individuals have already booked and paid for these drums of benzene in advance.

People have been reminded that they are allowed to buy up to two drums only.