3 Jul 2019

New Caledonia chiefs lodge complaint over Ouvea yacht confrontation

2:51 pm on 3 July 2019

Customary authorities in New Caledonia have lodged a complaint after last week's confrontation with a luxury yacht in a World Heritage area off Ouvea in the Loyalty Islands province.

An Ouvea beach

An Ouvea beach Photo: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Australian tourists were assaulted and the yacht was damaged by a group of local men, which the government of the southern province denounced as barbaric piracy.

However, the chiefs, environmental organisations and fishermen said the yacht's occupants failed to respect the rules applying to a protected marine zone by using professional fishing gear.

In a statement, they said their complaint was also directed at charter companies based in the southern province which operate in the Loyalty Islands without being given consent to do so.

It said in view of the false claims by the skipper that he was authorised to enter the zone they feel to be the victims in this affair.

There have been no arrests and while investigations are underway no charges have been laid.