20 Mar 2013

Vanuatu court says Phocea can leave Port Vila

2:35 pm on 20 March 2013

Vanuatu's Supreme Court has given clearance for the controversial mega yacht, Phocea, to sail out of the country's territorial waters.

The yacht has been detained by the Ports and Harbour since its arrival last July.

In its initial detainment, Vanuatu police claimed the yacht was suspected of having of being used in arms smuggling, money laundry and drug trafficking but all the allegations were quashed by the court due to lack of evidence.

However, the deputy commissioner of marine affairs, Guy Benard, says the custom department has refused to clear the vessel for it be able to leave.

The yacht is reportedly owned by Vanuatu's honorary consul to Vietnam, Pascal Anh Quan Saken.

He had accused Vanuatu police of piracy for holding the vessel.