3 May 2013

New Caledonia officials wait for Phocea despite tracking device being cut

3:34 pm on 3 May 2013

Police and customs officials in New Caledonia are preparing for the arrival of the superyacht, the Phocea, which left Vanuatu yesterday after being detained for nearly ten months.

The vessel, which is currently rented by the controversial Vanuatu honorary consul Pascal Anh Quan Saken, entered the country's waters without proper clearance last July.

Customs officials had detained the boat since then due to its lack of legitimate registration.

However Customs were this week directed by the government to clear the boat based on registration allegedly issued by the New York office of Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited.

Reports in Vanuatu indicate the Phocea is going to New Caledonia to be surveyed by maritime experts.

A French journalist who has been following the case of the Phocea, Christophe Gargiulo says that officials in Noumea are waiting for the boat.

"The French police and the French customs have been following the story since the beginning, and they're a bit worried about the Saken personality and they are also a bit worried because a few hours ago the Phocea cut its tracking device so they don't know where it is actually."

Christophe Gargiulo.