The Office of the Maritime Regulator of vessels is in the process of clearing up Port Vila Harbour off ships at Iririki Island and along the coastline of Nambatu and the area termed ‘Kasis Harbour’ at Paray Bay.

The Maritime Regulator, Charlie Maniel, announces that his office has issued a notice under the Maritime Act to the owners of 11 ships and yachts concerned and any interested parties of his plans to have the ships removed. He says his office is working with the Department of Ports and Harbour to clear the harbor off the wrecks.

“We are working with the Ports and Harbour to determine the status of the vessels, some of which are just floating, and rusting away,” he added.

Regulator Maniel says the ships were beached or damaged during the Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 and have been left there by their owners. Some ships are so badly rusted that they are unrecognizable, he adds.

“The ships are vessels becoming an eyesore especially when government is determined on developing the country’s tourism industry,” he added.

He says that after the 30-day notice the Maritime Regulator will issue a removal order for the ships and that the Office of the Maritime Regulator is now asking those interested in the ships to contact the office.

The Maritime Regulator has issued a report on the abandoned vessels to the Harbour Master and Ports and Harbour on the status of the vessels and identifying three ships that are not able to be removed and would some salvage work to help with their removal.

These vessels are Kaona, a Solomon Islands-registered ship, and two ships registered in Vanuatu – Outlaw and Lusinanda. For the others they will use cranes to lift them out of the water and have them removed.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: Cell # 678 5460922

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