Vanuatu Maritime Committee Under Fire For Registering Phocea

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Finance minister says committee’s dealings ‘questionable’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 4, 2013) – Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance says that recent members of the Maritime Technical Advisory Committee were unqualified.

The Committee’s role in Vanuatu’s maritime structure has come under scrutiny after its purported issuing of a provisional registration for the super yacht, the Phocea.

The vessel has been detained since last July in Port Vila by the Ports Authority due to false documentation and lack of registration.

The Minister, Charlot Salwai, says he suspended the Committee last year because the Maritime Authority which appointed the Committee has been defunct since 2007, making the registration illegitimate.

He suggests that the Committee’s dealings have been questionable.

"As Minister for Finance, I need to know how funds have been used. I came to the Ministry and I was informed that there was such a Technical Advisory Committee but for me, many of those who have been appointed are not qualified persons. They are supposed to advise government and ministers on maritime issues and they should have someone that is qualified."

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