7 Mar 2013

Vanuatu Customs says Phocea lacks papers to leave Port Vila

2:39 pm on 7 March 2013

Vanuatu's Customs Department says the super yacht Phocea still lacks the legitimate registration for it to leave the country.

The schooner has been detained in Port Vila since last July due to false documentation and lack of valid registration.

It recently emerged that the boat was granted provisional registration by the Maritime Technical Advisory Committee.

But the Finance Minister Charlot Salwai says the registration is invalid because he suspended the Committee last year.

He says the Maritime Authority which appointed the Committee had been defunct since 2007.

The Deputy Director of Operations for Customs, Stanley Trief, says it's unclear when the Phocea will be cleared to leave.

"With the clearance that we will give, it will be based on a registration of the vessel, and currently there is no registration that is valid so we won't be able to give clearance anyway with a phantom registration of some sort."

Stanley Trief