The LC Urata has sunk - 39 miles West of Toman Island, this is approximately 74 miles from Efate.

An officer from the Office of Maritime Regulator (OMR), Norris Pakoa made the confirmation to Daily Post yesterday afternoon.

Officer Pakoa was part of the technical team that left Port Vila on the Tugboat Roimata for the operation to rescue LC Urata on Thursday afternoon.

When Daily Post spoke with Pakoa at around 5.30pm yesterday, he said when the team spotted Urata at 11pm on Thursday, it was still floating. But according to their estimation, the ship would have already sunk by the time he was speaking with Daily Post.

The technical team, which comprises officers from OMR, Ports and Harbour and the owner of LC Urata left Port Vila on Thursday afternoon with the intention to re-float the vessel, if it was still in its upright position and tow it back to Port Vila.

At around 11pm on Thursday night, they spotted the ship on the radar. According to Pakoa, the ship has drifted out from the location they expected, according to coordinates they received on Wednesday evening.

The team managed to go near the ship, unfortunately, the ship had already tilted.

Pakoa said the team conducted an assessment but concluded that it would be impossible to re-float the ship.

“There are possibilities to save the ship but given the lack of equipment on board Roimata, this could not happen. The team would only be risking their lives if they try to re-float the vessel,” Pakoa stated.

“The buoyancy weight of the ship under the water is greater than the buoyancy weight of the ship on the surface so it would be impossible to re-float the ship.”

The team called off the operation and made their way back to Port Vila.

Interim Regulator, Charlie Maniel has thanked the technical team for their efforts to salvage the vessel and sympathised with the owner, John Amos and his wife for their loss.

Maniel joined many other Ni-Vans to acknowledge the management of LC Urata, for the services it has provided throughout the islands of Vanuatu.

The interim regulator admitted that there had been delays which prolonged to saving the ship but he reiterated that their responsibility is to save lives.

One of the biggest mission undertaken by Urata recently, was the transportation of families on Ambae during the evacuation and their repatriation, following the Manaro disaster.

Meanwhile, the OMR has issued an international maritime warning to all domestic vessels, fishing boats and international liners to be cautious when they sail near the area where the LC Urata sunk to its final resting spot.

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