15 May 2013

Phocea returns to Noumea to replace generator

7:21 pm on 15 May 2013

The controversial superyacht, The Phocea, has returned to New Caledonia just two days after setting sail for Thailand, following a reported problem with its main generator.

The Phocea arrived in New Caledonia last week after leaving Vanuatu's capital where it had been detained for nearly ten months.

The vessel, which is currently rented by the Vanuatu honorary consul Pascal Anh Quan Saken, entered Vanuatu waters without proper clearance last July.

Mr Saken's Vanuatu agent and maritime consultant, Guy Benard, says all the formalities were in order for the boat to leave Noumea for Phuket.

"But unfortunately, yesterday evening I was informed that one generator, the biggest one, was not working properly and there were some deficiencies on it. This is very important because everything is electric on this ship. And then they decide to go back to Noumea and purchase a brand new generator and to go back. That's the situation, there is nothing else."

Guy Benard says that he may pursue legal action against the Vanuatu authorities for the damages caused to the Phocea while in detention.

Meanwhile, Automatic Identification System data still shows the Phocea as being registered in Luxembourg despite having a new Vanuatu registration granted by the Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited.

Sources in Vanuatu's Ports Authority claimed this registration, which allowed the vessel to finally leave the country, is technically invalid as the VMSL doesn't have the authority to issue such registrations.