Large earthquake off Hunter Island, tsunami threat cancelled, numerous aftershocks

Map showing location of today's large earthquake off Hunter Island in the far south of Vanuatu. Map: USGS

Map showing location of today’s large earthquake off Hunter Island in the far south of Vanuatu. Map: US Geological Survey

A large earthquake struck the seabed off the coast of Hunter Island at around 12:26pm today. Initially measured at 7.6 on the Richter scale, it was later downgraded to 7.2 and a precautionary tsunami warning that had been issued was cancelled. So far, six aftershocks have been recorded in the vicinity.

The Fisheries wharf at Paray is to be used for the unloading of fish caught by the large vessels of the Sino-Vanuatu processing plant at Blacksands. This will need a 61m long new wharf at the site. But it also spells uncertainty for the small boats which have used the Nambatu wharf for their delivery of catch. Fisheries Director Moses Amos says other locations for the small vessels have been sought, like Forari. But there are land problems there. The search goes on, and in the meantime the dismantling of the Paray facilities to consolidate the changes needed there continues. (Daily Post)

Justice Chetwynd yesterday called for former MP Marcellino Pipite to again take the witness stand in the Conspiracy to Corrupt case before the Supreme Court. The reason is to establish the whereabouts of documentation concerning the requests for pardon and the instrument of pardon as issued by Pipite. Some of the former MPs now facing the conspiracy charges say they did sign the request for a pardon; others say they did both see and sign such a document. No such evidence has been supplied by Prosecutions. In making their investigations in the matter the police say they found the requests for a pardon, but not the signed actual copies of such a document. Both Prosecutions and Defence are recalling witnesses today. Final submissions of counsels are to be made Tuesday in this case. (Vanuatu Indigenous Watch)

Labour Commissioner Lionel Kaluat has announced through VBTC and in Daily Post a record number of 200 workers being taken on by the company Madec in Australia to work on farms in Victoria and South Australia. He is confident that Vanuatu workers have proven themselves capable in the Australian Seasonal Worker Programme. (Daily Post)

The final scores in the bantamweight boxing involving Vanuatu’s Boe Warawara at the Rio Olympics were close, but our 19 year old went down to Russia’s Nikitin in an amazing fight. Warawara is the son of the recently elected Malo MP. Luigi Teilemb remains in the contest for the E final in rowing after the event was postponed because of weather. (Daily Post)