18 Jan 2013

Phocea shift from Vila to PNG mooted

3:47 pm on 18 January 2013

Reports from Vanuatu say the owner of the detained super yacht Phocea, Pascal Anh Saken, is believed to be in Papua New Guinea in a bid to get PNG authorities to register his yacht.

According to government sources, Mr Saken is trying to regain the 20 million US dollar vessel but it cannot leave Port Vila because it has no valid documents.

The reports say PNG is hesitant to register Phocea because the vessel, which has now been held in Vanuatu for half a year, has a fake registration certificate.

A source close to Ports and Harbours has told our corespondent that the yacht was declared stateless by Malta's authorities last week.

The declaration was made after claims the yacht was registered in Malta.

Last month, Vanuatu's prime minister Sato Kilman cleared the yacht for release but the opposition said he had no authority to do so.

A local lawyer, Les John Napuati, has also sued the yacht, its owner and the vessel's agent in Vanuatu for producing an allegedly forged document with his signature on it.

He says the forgery affected his reputation as a lawyer and he wants more than one million US dollars in compensation.