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By Ofani Eremae

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 5, 2000 - Solomon Star/PINA Nius Online)---An oversea log ship was detained by landowners in Western Province following disagreement with their logging contractor.

The landowners on Vangunu island took the action after they claimed logging contractors Omex Limited breached their logging and marketing agreement.

The log ship, MC Princess Hope, had already loaded about 600 cubic meters of round logs before it was boarded by landowners.

According to Samuel Hape, chairman of a company owned by the landowners, they would not release the ship until their demand for SI$ 3 million (US$ 601, 926) compensation was accepted.

The landowners said there had been nine shipments of logs and they began to get suspicious when they found payments were being channeled through a third company.

Hape said payments to them were not being made on time and Omex would not provide them details of the transactions.

A spokesman for Omex, who gave his name as Mr. Tan, said everything was being done according to their agreement with the landowners.

Mr. Tan said the detention was illegal and Customs Department officers had told the landowners to release the ship. But a Customs spokesman said: "The Customs division has no part in it."

Police in the Western Province headquarters, Gizo, said they had not received news of the detention of the ship.

Mr. Tan later said the ship had been released but this could not be confirmed.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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