21 Jan 2013

Vanuatu Ports Director believes suspension was politically motivated

8:03 pm on 21 January 2013

The suspended Director of Ports and Harbours in Vanuatu says his suspension was politically motivated.

The government, through the Public Service Commission, suspended the Director, Morris Kaloran, last Friday.

The official reason for his suspension remains unclear but Mr Kaloran believes it is based on his refusal to release the mega-yacht, the Phocea, from detention in Port Vila harbour against the government's wishes.

"Well, they give me some reasons but I think it's only a cover-up. The reasons that were given to me for suspension, there is no ground for it. But the suspension was, I believe, politically motivated."

Morris Kaloran says that despite his suspension, the yacht's registration and crew documentation remain out of order and therefore the owner of the vessel has a case to answer.

He says the Phocea is not legally registered to any state.

The Malta Shipping Registry has confirmed that provisional Maltese registration for the Phocea obtained last year without proof of ownership and other registration requirements, was cancelled last week.