1 Feb 2013

Vanuatu police dismisses piracy accusation by Phocea owner

5:16 pm on 1 February 2013

Vanuatu's Police Commissioner Major Arthur Caulton has fended off an accusation of piracy levelled against the police by one of the country's diplomatic representatives.

Pascal Ahn Quan Saken claims police illegally boarded his yacht, the Phocea, and damaged its interior in a raid in Port Vila last July on suspicion of guns and drugs trading.

Seven months on, despite government orders for its release, the Phocea remains detained by Vanuatu's Ports Authority due to problems with its registration.

Major Caulton says the Phocea came into Vanuatu's jurisdiction and police were entitled to board.

"Along with customs and immigration, I did board that vessel on a warrant from the court. We believed it was illegally entering Vanuatu. So Saken, or who ever is claiming that we boarded his boat illegally, it's not true."

Major Arthur Caulton