27 Jul 2012

Vanuatu says Phocea owner in line for Vietnam diplomatic role

5:00 pm on 27 July 2012

Vanuatu says the owner of a detained luxury yacht in Port Vila, Anh Quan Saken, has been proposed to become the country's honorary consul in Vietnam.

The vessel, the Phocea, was searched last weekend and police seized documents which are part of a probe into possible passport fraud.

The director-general of the ministry of foreign affairs says he is concerned about the alleged false passport manufacturing on board, saying it could threaten Vanuatu's national identity.

Johnny Koanapo says as far as the ministry is concerned, the yacht's owner was only nominated for one diplomatic post.

"The owner of the boat, Mr Saken, the Vanuatu government had nominated him to be the honorary consul of Vanuatu in Vietnam. This is still a nomination. We are yet to receive an official response from the Vietnamese government concerning the nomination. So at this point in time he's officially not an honorary consul yet."

Johnny Koanapo says there may have been some government ministers on the boat before it came under the spotlight of customs and police.