Vanuatu Utilities Minister Signs For Phocea Release
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 5, 2012) – Vanuatu’s Minister of Public Utilities, Harry Iauko, has signed a deed of release of one million vatu, or nearly US$11,000, to release the mega-yacht Phocea.
The mega yacht has been detained in Port Vila harbour since it was seized in July over an alleged smuggling and forgery operation.
Mr. Iauko says that he has taken legal advice from the Attorney General and the Prosecution that there is no longer a case in Court between the government and the owner of the Phocea.
However Vanuatu’s director of Ports and Marine, Morris Kaloran, says that Mr. Yauko has no power to release the Phocea and that he has never been consulted by the office of the Attorney General to release it.
The director says that the Phocea’s arrival in Vanuatu breached International Maritime laws and Vanuatu should bring back the claimed owner, Pascal Anh Saken, to be charged.
The forgery case against Mr. Saken was recently withdrawn by the court on the basis that he was not in Vanuatu.
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