Vanuatu Customs detains suspicious vessel

VANUATU Customs officials have detained a fishing boat-like vessel called MV Glory and its five Sri Lankan crew and one captain at the Main Wharf in Port Vila, in connection to alleged irregularities regarding the vessel’s travel documents, reportedly from Japan.

Acting Border Manager Badley Tari said the previous owner of the vessel, who is also Sri Lankan, has arrived in the country ahead of the arrival of the vessel on December 29.

However there is no bill of sale or any amount to prove how much the new owner bought the vessel for, or any departure certificate from any Japanese city as required by law, to confirm it originated from there.

Mr Tari confirmed that customs officers boarded the vessel on arrival on normal routine check and done a thorough search of the interior only to find it empty of any sign of fishing equipment on board.

He said no one has tried to claim the ship which is estimated to be 20 years old.

Regarding the fate of the five crew and captain, Mr Tari said they have returned their passports and that a process for their prosecution has begun.

“The captain told customs officers that he and his crew have completed their job and are ready to return home,” he said.

“They said they were to deliver the ship to its new owner and are ready to fly out,” he said.

The captain and the crew are reported to be in the country on a one-month visa.

– Colombo Page