14 Aug 2019

Vanuatu Maritime Regulator not aware of rhino beetle state of emergency

3:37 pm on 14 August 2019

The Office of Vanuatu's Maritime Regulator says it was not aware of a state of emergency order in place to control the spread of the rhinoceros beetle.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Coconut rhinoceros beetle Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koro Vakauta

The beetle has already devastated coconut plantations across the region and has started to impact areas in North East Efate.

A state of emergency order was put in place to control the movement of vessels and vehicles from the infested area.

However, the maritime regulator's legal adviser Lloyd Fikiasi told the Daily Post newspaper his office was not aware of order which was enforced by the Department of Biosecurity.

He said his office knows the threat of the rhinoceros beetle is very serious, but he was not aware of any state of emergency.

All vehicles transporting wood from the north of Efate are supposed to be inspected for the beetle.

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