Most, if not all, fuel in Papua New Guinea comes from countries other than Australia. Thus it is in no way tied to Australia's price structure and a fortunate result of this is that it does not rise in price as often, nor as dramatically, as it does in Australia.
Be that as it may, fuel is still very expensive in Papua New Guinea. Prices have been quoted under the heading 'Money and Consumer Prices' but will be repeated here. They relate to 1978 but it can be assumed that a cost-wage relativity will prevail making this information of some use in the future.
Distillate cost 58.4 Toea per gallon in all main ports except Port Moresby in 1978. Because of some subsidy deal, Port Moresby fuel costs up to 72 Toea per gallon. Thus is pays to take on fuel in one of the following centres: Kieta, Rabaul, Lae or Madang.
Distillate is available at many of the smaller towns and even at some government stations but the price is high and best avoided. This should be borne in mind when using the ports and anchorages described in Part Two of this book where the availability of fuel is indicated. The fact that it is available in no way suggests that its purchase is recommended at that particular port or anchorage.
Distillate is usually available at the wharfside from either road tanker or drum (in the larger towns). Petrol, on the other hand, can only be delivered by drum or, more likely, the consumer is expected to go to the nearest road service station and carry his own,
Australian boatmen will probably notice that the distillate available in Papua New Guinea is slightly darker in colour than Australia fuel. This in no way affects its use. There is also a rumour that water commonly finds its way into fuel because of careless and indifferent cleaning and handling of drums. If this is true I personally never noticcd it and always found the fuel delivered by either tanker or drums was clean and water free.
One word of warning however. Many tankers carry a hose of a size that would do a Jumbo Jet refuelling device proud. Always state your tank inlet size and remind the agent that a small nozzle might be necessary. Also, if you have laid-decks from which the tar will run on contact with fuel, wet them down and lay rags before the tanker arrives.
Fuel and water can occasionally be taken aboard from a town's main wharf. Permission from the wharfinger and a possible berthage fee are mandatory.
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