Vanuatu daily news digest | 21 January 2015

Sea-Bed Mining is front page again today. Yesterday’s comment from a well-known local environmentalist that even removing limestone chimneys takes place in the name of research was followed by another pointing out how much play there is between the words mining, digging, exploiting and prospecting, and also research. Wendy Him Ford points out that the International Court of Justice finally got round to seeing what the Japanese called marine scientific research of whales as commercial whale fishing last year. However, today, the Acting Commissioner of Mines quite rightly points out that VT 64 million was earned last year from fees for licences to research the sea-bed. And of course research needs something to be taken out of the water. Talking with Daily Post he he went to great length to stress that no digging had taken place, and it is hard to imagine even a chimney or two going missing being a huge loss to our marine treasury if they bring in so many millions of vatu. Rakau quite nicely adds that he is not responsible for the way this income to government is spent. One wonders however, whether some of it could buy the necessary geo-positioning equipment (GPS) and enable the placement of equipment and a ni-Vanuatu enforcement officer on board prospecting ships. Might it not be a good idea to supervise what goes on? And it might also be a good idea with fishing vessels of which a lot, foreign owned, carry the Vanuatu flag. Even the flag-of-convenience management has welcomed government trained personnel on vessels of the Registry.

Three local passenger and cargo ships have been detained because of failure to meet their licensing requirements. This involves endorsement of their safety certificates. It seems fines are likely for the LC Saravenua, MV Makila, and MV Island Claws. Ports & Harbours’ Kembro Manderson spells out the reasons for detention in Daily Post.

Today’s Post also seriously questions the transmitter failures of the national broadcaster, VBTC, with a further Havannah Harbour complaint about failure to receive Radio Vanuatu whilst the station reports it can be heard in New Zealand and Japan. But most listeners cannot be blamed for not purchasing extremely expensive reception equipment when the ordinary old Medium Wave of VBTC is not even half-way through its shelf life. So how has it got to be so bad? Why have they failed to maintain it? And oughtn’t they try to fix it rather than require entire new digital systems it will take years to install? This issue is likely to fill your editor’s pet hate spot for 2015 as 747 airports for Rentabau did last year.

But all that said, thank you Radio Vanuatu for getting Radio Australia back on the air even if, months down the track, we are still waiting for the BBC.


One Comment on “Vanuatu daily news digest | 21 January 2015”

  1. Vicky Geiger says:

    Dive companies operating in Vanuatu are subject to international regulations in terms of safety standards, but there are at present no specific regulations governing this sport in Vanuatu. As such, the enforcement of such regulations cannot be implemented by the Courts because it has never been enacted as legislation. It is our understanding that such regulations are in process but have as yet not been finalised.
    Looking at domestic legislation in Vanuatu, the closest reference to scuba diving is the Fisheries Act & Fisheries Regulations 2009 which provide that a person cannot dive in a marine reserve for the purposes to capture or dive for fish and also provides for fishing equipment with regard to diving equipment for the purpose of fishing.
    There is total silence on Commercial diving and under water operations in Vanuatu.
    New legislation should express the highest possible level of safety measures in the practice of commercial diving and under water operations in Vanuatu and require proper and adequate training and education for industry personal that adhere to International standards. For and on behalf of TIV-ALAC
    Albert Taufa Senior Legal Officer
    Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) Vanuatu
    A project of Transparency International Vanuatu
    Rivarec Pacific Building, 1st Floor
    P.O. Box 355
    My daughter Laila died in May 2, 2013 diving with Aquamarine Santo. I requested Transparency International to Investigate Underwater Safety Standard in Vanuatu.
    Health and Safety are basic rights to commerce and must apply to all. From, Vicky a mother

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