A joint operation is currently underway to inspect all vessels within the Port Vila Harbour.
Kembro Manderson, Acting Maritime Regulator explained that the officers are basically checking the documents of the vessels and targeting the ‘dead vessels’, ensuring the validation of their certificatification, registration, ownership and status of ships.
The operation which commenced on June 8, will execute its plan of action which will give shipowners at least two months to remove their ‘dead vessels’ from the harbour.
Authorities from the Office of the Maritime Regulator and Ports and Harbour have undertaken a similar operation early this year during the cyclone season period to ensure safety of the vessels.
Some of the findings from the initial operation had revealed that some of the ‘dead vessels’ were being left in the hands of a third party as the vessel owners were out of the country. The operation has also identified some of the dead vessels, especially yachts and small crafts, were no longer seaworthy and unable to function as normal.
Some of the vessels have been floating within the Port Vila bay for quite some time and this has been a concern for the maritime authorities because the ships pose risks and threats to the marine environment.
This operation also assists the maritime authorities to prepare for cyclone season which will begin in November.
According to Manderson, they want to make sure owners or agents of the ‘dead vessels’ start considering to move out the vessels or make efforts to repair them.
The Acting Maritime Regulator also encouraged vessel owners or agents to negotiate with them or the Harbour Master should they have any issues with their vessels.
Owners of the ‘dead vessels’ can expect the authorities to get in touch with them this week. Those who cannot be reached can expect an order for the removal of their vessels.
By August, all vessels within the harbour should be well prepared for the cyclone season. This, according to Manderson, will avoid similar experiences of wreckage of vessels at Iririki and causing hazardous impact on the marine environment.