26 Oct 2011

Asbestos worries prompt Vanuatu fishing ban in Luganville

2:30 pm on 26 October 2011

Fishing from the main export wharf in Luganville in Vanuatu has been banned for fear of asbestos contamination.

The ban has been declared by the technical advisory committee on maritime affairs, whose chairman, Eric Puyo Festa, says a vessel, sinking at the wharf, the MV Rodin, contains asbestos.

The vessel was donated by New Caledonia to a Catholic charity five years ago, but has been plagued by engine problems, and considered a poisoned gift by the church.

The MV Rodin was towed from the island of Ambae to Luganville last year due the mechanical problems.

Mr Puyo Festa says for the safety of the residents of Luganville, it is better to ban people from fishing near the vessel.

He said his office is looking for qualified experts to salvage it - an exercise that will cost nearly half a million US dollars.