Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Fuel shortage has hit parts of Sierra Leone, especially the border area as unscrupulous fuel dealers scramble to smuggle the fuel across the porous border to sell in Guinea.
Very long lines were seen at various fuel stations where they had been rationing the supply and selling only ten (10) litres to each motorist.
Officials of the National Petroleum Company Sierra Leone – NP(SL) however confirmed that the boat MT Marlin completed discharging nineteen thousand metric tonnes (19k MT AGO) of diesel earlier yesterday Saturday.
As soon as the MT Marlin finished and moved out of the jetty, the MV Papillon berthed starting the process of discharging eleven thousand metric tonnes of petrol (11k MT PMS).
NP officials explained they could not be discharging fuel onto tankers for distribution to fuel stations while the ship was offloading. Therefore they expected to see temporary lines at fuel stations but assured that the lines would clear within 24 hours.
Guinea’s fuel depot was mysteriously set ablaze last Sunday 17th December 2023. Investigations as to how the fire happened are still going on. However, this depot was Guinea’s main fuel dump, but there is another depot further inland. This was however the largest fuel depot in the country stationed in Conakry the capital.
Experts say it will take at least two years to rebuild. This means Guinea will have to look to its neighbours for temporary relief until a proper storage facility with the required storage capacity can be found out.
Following the fire disaster which claimed 23 lives, Vice President Juldeh Jalloh led a high level team to Guinea with a solidarity message from President Bio.
Writing on his facebook page the Vice President said “I travelled to Guinea to deliver a special message of solidarity to President Mamady Doumbouya from His Excellency Julius Maada Bio following the tragic fire and destruction of the oil depot in Conakry on Sunday evening.”
He went on “I led a high-level delegation comprising of our Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Heads of the National Disaster Management Agency, Petroleum Regulatory Agency and a team of medical personnel. We put in place interim architecture to support Guinea’s access to petroleum products.” The Vice President disclosed that “Sierra Leone has donated three lorry loads of medical supplies to treat burn victims. This morning,(Friday) 150 lorries travelled to Freetown to collect fuel to take back to Conakry.”
Reports say seven (7) lorry loads of fuel left for Guinea yesterday.
As a consequence, fuel lines were seen in the capital Freetown Saturday while some border towns like Kambia saw fuel rising from NLe30 to NLe 40 per litre.
NP(SL) has promised they will have enough fuel in the country to cater for both Sierra Leone and Guinea.
According to Bloomberg.com distribution and sale of fuel started yesterday Saturday.