There are fears bad weather may stop flights into Christmas Island, threatening the supply of fresh food.
The island’s main supply point has been cut off after the MV Tycoon smashed into a loading dock used to bring in most of the island’s supplies.
Christmas Island Administrator Brian Lacy said at a community meeting yesterday that people voiced fears there would not be enough food and prices would rise.
"As stocks become in short supply, it might push the price up," Mr Lacy conceded.
But he said there were as yet no signs of price increases or gouging on the island.
The extent of the damage to the dock is still unknown, pending an assessment by an engineer, but island authorities will rely on air freight for the next month.
Low cloud and squally conditions could prevent flights from landing, Mr Lacy said.
Virgin Blue spokesman Colin Lippiatt said he was not aware of weather issues affecting flights to the island today.
Virgin flight DJ2901 departed at 8:11am and is expected to arrive on time at 10:55 Christmas Island time, he said.
Christmas Island ground handlers said there was a possibility that poor weather could affect flights today.
About two to three tonnes of fresh food is usually flown into Christmas Island each week.
Christmas Island Metro Supermarket manager Mr Tan, who only gave his last name, said he had not seen any evidence of panic buying on the island.
He said because of the school holidays many long-term residents had left the island and he was confident food supplies would be adequate for six months.
“It depends on how fussy the customer is, if you have a housewife who wants fresh fish fillets then you can’t do anything but people will swap over to tinned food if things are not available,” he said.
The MV Tycoon was carrying 5 crates of food which were unloaded before the disaster, he said.
Prices would only go up if the supermarket’s own suppliers also increased their prices, he said.
He also said that his supermarket would be prioritising selling to locals before supplying to the detention centre run by Serco.
“The detention centre is more of a concern. We are definitely not able to supply Serco,” he said.
According to Mr Tan, the centre is currently supplied by only one of the four supermarkets on the island.
Flight delays could also hamper the clean up effort.
A flight due to leave Perth this morning is also taking Australian Maritime Safety Authority experts to the island to train community members who have volunteered to assist in the oil-spill cleanup.
Mr Lacy said the community was anxious to start cleaning up the massive oil spill.
"A lot of people of their own accord started trying to clean up the beach yesterday," he said.
But he said the authorities stopped them because of fears that they were not trained and would risk injuring themselves as well as inadvertently spreading the pollutants.
More than 150 people from some of the big employers on the island - including the company contracted to run the island’s immigration detention centre, Serco - have volunteered to help with the clean up, he said.
He also expected a lot of people would sign up today for training.