29 Jan 2007

Vanuatu Quarantine Services releases bio-product for P&O oil waste spill

7:24 pm on 29 January 2007

Vanuatu's Quarantine Services has given a conditional permit for a team treating an oil waste disposal to use a bio-product it seized earlier this month.

The Enretech-1 product, brought into Vanuatu by New Caledonian environmental experts Socadis, is commonly used in oil spill clean-ups in Australia and New Zealand.

Socadis had been hired to treat half a million litres of waste oil discharged at a Port Vila dump site by P&O Cruises without proper approval.

A senior inspection Quarantine officer, Timothy Tukumon, says that they regarded the product as an illegal import until its legality had been properly assessed.

"We had started our preliminary risk assesment prior to that to ensure that should the legality of it be sorted out, we would then sort out the importation procedure documents which all happened after the P&O local agents - South Seas Shipping - paid a fine for the legality of importation."

Timothy Tukumon says South Seas Shipping paid a fine of around 1000 US dollars.

The conditional permit requires that the product is used only at the oil spill site and workers who handle enretech-1 have to be properly equipped to avoid contamination.