The Office of the Maritime Regulator (OMR) has dismissed a statement by Yumi Toktok Stret (YTS) social media group on its Facebook page alleging that there was a hole under the hull of the MV Vanuatu Ferry, and that the hole was patched with a tree stump.
The OMR clarified that MV Vanuatu Ferry does not have any hole under its hull patched only by a stump as alleged by YTS.
“OMR has inspected the vessel and detained it because it needed to go to a slipway given that it had reached its time for slipping.
“A full underwater hull inspection was conducted by a marine specialist diver under close supervision of OMR inspectors in February 2018 before it sailed to Australia in early March for dry dock service.”
It says the full under water report did not show any deficiencies as alleged by YTS. However, the vessel underwent repairs and antifouling given that it was overdue for slipping. That is why OMR must instruct the vessel for dry dock as soon as possible.
“If this unnecessary behavior continues in the near future, Vanuatu Ferry will consider it as defamation and will take the matter into court for necessary action,” OMR cautioned.
The vessel is now in Australia, says the OMR, for almost a month undergoing full repairs and maintenance.
The management of the vessel have invested a huge sum of money on the repairs to ensure the vessel comes out from the dock almost as new, it says.
The vessel is due to de-dock before the end of this month and once cleared by an OMR inspector in Australia, the vessel will sail back to Vanuatu to serve the people of Vanuatu.
The OMR says the statement made by YTS alleging that the vessel operated with a hole patched with wood is false and the OMR strongly condemned such a statement because it is misleading.
It is appealing to the public that if anyone wants to know any information about the vessel they should contact the OMR or verify the facts with OMR or the owner of the vessel before posting the information on social media.
“OMR apologises to the management of Vanuatu Ferry for such misleading information posted irresponsibly by YTS and thanks Vanuatu Ferry for always complying with the shipping and maritime law of Vanuatu and to ensure the safety of the vessel and passengers is respected at all times.”
Vanuatu Ferry is due to return to Vanuatu at the end of April or early May.