26 Oct 2011

Vanuatu seeks Australian owner of asbestos shipwreck

3:43 pm on 26 October 2011

Vanuatu authorities say they hope the Australian owner of a sunken vessel now leeching asbestos in Santo's main wharf will be able to pay for its salvage.

The chairman of Vanuatu's Technical Advisory Committee for marine affairs, Eric Festa, says people have now been banned from fishing near the vessel because of health concerns.

He says salvaging the vessel has been quoted to cost just under half a million US dollars.

Mr Festa says the committee is now trying to contact the owner and a team will revisit Santo next week.

"We heard that the owner got some assets in Vanuatu, so we are going to try this week to get in touch with the owner and to try to find out the best solution for him and us, to try to get this ship salvaged."

The chairman of Vanuatu's Technical Advisory Committee, Eric Festa.