18 Aug 2017

Vanuatu biosecurity director wants Chinese gravel gone

9:07 am on 18 August 2017

Vanuatu's biosecurity director Timothy Tumukon says he wants an illegal shipment of gravel from China gone by the weekend.

The gravel is aboard a vessel anchored in Port Vila harbour.

It had been banned over concerns about foot-and-mouth-disease contamination.

The gravel was imported by a Chinese company contracted to upgrade the runway at Vanuatu's airport.

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Photo: 123RF

The contractor China Civil Engineering and Construction Company said it sourced the aggregate from China as crushing gravel locally would delay the project.

But Mr Tumukon said that was a poor excuse given he explicitly told the company in May that Vanuatu would only accept gravel sourced in the region.

"They are still in discussions with other parties but I have concluded my discussions with them I am waiting on a ministerial order being drafted right now by our attorney general and my minister is waiting to sign that," he said.

"So that I can issue it to them to say get this product and leave our shores."

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