25 February 2021, Sittwe
Express boat lines in Arakan State that were suspended for more than six months due to COVID-19 were allowed to resume as of February 25, according to U San Maw Thein, manager of the Shwe Pyi Tan express boat line.
Colonel Min Than, a member of the Arakan State Administration Council, held a meeting with representatives from the relevant passenger vessel lines and waterway department on Thursday afternoon, during which he gave the green light to resume express boat services.
“He said we can resume the service from today [February 25]. Shwe Pyi Tan express boat line will run the Sittwe-Pauktaw-Minbya-Mrauk-U route from tomorrow. Other routes will run later,” U San Maw Thein told DMG.
The express boat lines have been instructed to require staff and passengers to wear masks and wash their hands, as well as taking temperatures and arranging seating for passengers that allows for social distancing on board.
“People have to take a boat they can get. So, they are facing difficulties for their trips. Now the express boat lines are resuming and they can travel cheaper,” U San Maw Thein said.
“The [resumption of] express boat lines that have been suspended for six months will also be convenient for their business,” he added.
Routes plied by Shwe Pyi Tan express boats include Sittwe-Kyaukphyu-Rambree-Kyauk Ni Maw, Sittwe-Taungup-Manaung, Sittwe-Pauktaw-Minbya, Sittwe-Mrauk-U, and Sittwe-Rathedaung-Buthidaung.
Express boat line operations had been suspended since August 21 due to the pandemic, and a proposal to resume services was submitted to the Arakan State Administration Council on February 16.