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-Vanuatu Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities has summoned a company on behalf of the Prime Minister, after receiving information that the company is allegedly illegally registering international vessels online.
Daily Post understands this company was summoned on Monday and Prime Minister Charlot Salwai who is responsible for the Maritime portfolio was briefed on the matter Tuesday.
A statement issued by the Minister of MIPU, Christophe Emelee, affirmed the Commissioner of the Maritime Affairs did receive the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Legal Committee released document, LEG 106/7, indicating that Vanuatu has an illegal International Ship Registry acting through a company.
“This has been dealt with in 2017,” the Minister stated.
“However, just recently the same company did engage the same activity again and this is now being taken care of by the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs and the Ministry concern with the Vanuatu Maritime Affairs.
“As far as the Office of the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs is aware, there has not been a ship being registered by the other company, only the website was created.
“In addition, since 2014 to date, no information on any ships has been received as being fraudulently registered under Vanuatu International Shipping Registry of Vanuatu as a Flag State or Vanuatu Flag Ship being under United Nations’ Sanctions.”
When the company — which cannot be named for privacy issues — was summoned, it dismissed the report and responded that it has not registered any vessels, but has developed a website for future purposes if the government approves it to administrate the international shipping registry.
For Vanuatu’s International Shipping Registry, the only authorized and recognised company to administrate Vanuatu’s International Shipping Registry is Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited. (VMSL).
VMSL is contracted by Vanuatu Government to administrate Vanuatu’s International Shipping Registry on its behalf. Deputy Commissioners of Maritime Affairs were appointed to assist administrate the international shipping Registry, based in other countries. The office in New York being the main/head Office with other supporting sub-offices set up in other countries.
The International Shipping Registry has been administrated by VMSL over 10 years and the employed administrators do have a lot of experience both in the administrations and operations.
With regards to the objective; to suppress and or eliminate fraudulent ships registration, the Deputy Commissioners and administrators have taken a lot of precautions before registering any ships on Vanuatu’s International Shipping Registry.
A source informed Daily Post that the move was conducted in response to the decision by the IMO to beef up registrations of vessels, aiming at clamping down on fraudulent vessel registrations and national flag registries operating illegally without the approval of governments they claim to represent.
According to the source, Vanuatu has almost 600 international vessels that are registered and operating legally within the international waters.
“In the Pacific Vanuatu is second to Marshall Islands with the second highest number of vessels with large gross tonnage, that are registered as Vanuatu flagged-vessels,” the source said.
A circular would be issued to the IMO to confirm Vanuatu is dealing with the issue.
According to an article by Lloyd’s List (one of the world’s continuously running journals providing weekly shipping news) which we published yesterday, “last year, port state control organisation Paris MoU listed a total of 13 flag states as having the world’s worst safety records between 2015 and 2017. Two of those states were also identified by the IMO as facing registration fraud woes; Tanzania and Vanuatu.”
The source explained that the issue is sensitive and must be addressed urgently, as Vanuatu could be blacklisted by the IMO and that would mean that international vessels cannot register as Vanuatu-flagged vessels.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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