The Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Jay Ngwele, has written to the Harbour Master and Operations Manager of Ports and Harbour Department instructing them to make an Order for the removal of vessels that are stranded or have sunk in Port Vila on Efate, Luganville on Santo and other ports in Vanuatu.
In his letter sent to the senior government officials on Tuesday, Minister Ngwele state, “It is one of the main priorities of the current Government to make sure that all ports must be clean and cleared from stranded or sunk vessels as set out in Port Act (CAP 26) and Maritime Sector Regulatory Act No. 26 or 2016.
“To that end, as Minister responsible for Maritime Affairs, i hereby instruct you to make an Order pursuant to section 19 of Ports Act (CAP 26) to all ship owners to remove their vessels stranded or sunk in the port of Port Vila in (sic) the island of Efate, port of Luganville in the island of Espiritu Santo and; including other ports within the islands of Vanuatu, for a period of 60 days.
“Should the ship owners fail to comply to this Order, the Harbour Master may direct the removal of such vessel at the expense of the owner,” the Minister of Public Utilities stated in his letter.
Ngwele told Daily Post that Port Vila harbour in particular needs to get rid of some of the vessels that are causing an eyesore in the Capital’s waterfront area.
Attempts in the past to remove stranded vessels, especially around Iririki Island Resort, one of Vanuatu’s top resorts, took a while to be implemented.
The Minister of Public Utilities made the instructions to Ports and Harbour Department after Prime Minister Bob Loughman withdrew the functions of being responsible for Maritime Affairs and Shipping Registry from the Office of the Prime Minister and reassigned the functions to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.