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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 27) – Vanuatu Shipowners Association is standing firm in its plans to take strike action over the proposed bill to repeal the Vanuatu Maritime Authority Act.

[PIR editor’s note: The Vanuatu Maritime Authority Act establishes the Maritime Authority of Vanuatu and a Maritime Appeal Tribunal, and provides for the appointment of a Commissioner of Maritime Affairs. The Vanuatu Maritime Authority ensures compliance with the law in respect of the registration, licensing, operation and crewing of vessels, among other things.]

The Daily Post newspaper reports the Commissioner for Labor Lionel Kaluat as branding such a strike as illegal.

The Association says its members will all withdraw their services at the end of the month if the Vanuatu Shipowners Association Act is repealed and the Authority itself is liquidated.

The Association’s vice-president, Dinh Van Than, says strike action is legal as far as owners of ships are concerned.

Mr. Than says there’s been a lack of consultation with ship owners.

He says repealing the Vanuatu Shipowners Association Act will have direct implications not only on the customers of the shipping service but on the economy of the country, rural services and Vanuatu’s name internationally.

But the Shipowners Association has welcomed a planned meeting with the Minister for Public Utilities over the issue.

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