29 Nov 2006

Vanuatu Maritime Authority denies approving oil waste disposal

8:28 pm on 29 November 2006

Vanuatu's Maritime Authority, the VMA, has denied claims it approved of the disposal of oil waste from a P&O cruise liner in a capital rubbish dump.

P&O Cruises has apologised for the disposal of up to 500,000 litres of oil waste from the Pacific Star, at Port Vila's Teouma dump site.

Vanuatu is not capable of properly processing such oil waste which is considered harmful to the environment.

The VMA technical advisor Guy Benard claims by P&O's local agents that the sludge discharge was approved by the VMA are untrue.

"And if anybody has given an approval, which I'm really sure now is not possible, this matter will be solved internally. It's a very very serious concern. We're working with Greenpeace and so on because Vanuatu is really a green country and we do not want to be used as a rubbish state."

Meanwhile, police and the government are investigating the dumping, while stakeholders consider a remediation plan with P&O.