Motorists in Zanzibar are stranded as a week-long fuel shortage continues to bite the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago.
The Zanzibar Utilities Regulatory Authority (Zura) has attributed the scarcity to rundown facilities at the Maruhubi oil jetty.
Zura's acting spokesperson Khuzaimat Bakari Kheri told The Citizen that oil vessels are unable to dock at the port.
He added that the ships with oil destined for Zanzibar are now docking at the Dar es Salaam port in mainland Tanzania or the Mombasa port in neighbouring Kenya.
"For example, on December 29, a tanker could not dock at the port and was forced to go to Mombasa instead, where it unloaded its cargo," Mr Kheri said, adding that the Maruhubi port could not accommodate the ship.
Zanzibar has been forced to send smaller vessels to Dar es Salaam and Mombasa to collect the fuel.
Mr Kheri said Zura and the Zanzibar Ports Authority plan to refurbish the jetty and increase its capacity.
"This should end the problem once and for all because tankers will be able to dock without any problem," he said.
Mr Kheri said the oil shortage has also been compounded by a sharp increase in demand during the festive season.
He said daily fuel consumption in the Islands was 165,000 litres of petrol and 152,000 litres of diesel. But demand during the festive season nearly doubled, he said.
Spot checks showed that some fuel stations remained closed in the last few days due to the shortage, with traders urging the authorities to find a lasting solution.