6 Dec 2012

Vanuatu's Minister of Public Utilities signs deed of release for Phocea

9:39 am on 6 December 2012

Vanuatu's Minister of Public Utilities, Harry Iauko, has signed a deed of release of one million vatu 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 a smuggling and forgery operation.

Mr Iauko says that he has taken the decision following legal advise from the office of Attorney General and Prosecution, since there is no longer case in Court between 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 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The forgery case against Mr Saken was withdrawn by the court on basis that he was not in Vanuatu.