Vanuatu Ferry II Detained
By Glenda Willie
The Vanuatu Maritime and Safety Authority (VMSA) has detained Vanuatu Ferry II following the discovery of several deficiencies during an inspection yesterday.
The vessel’s captain has been found guilty of failing to report the damage to the ship and neglecting to record the deficiencies in the ship’s logbook, as required by the Shipping Act Section 30 (1).
This section mandates that the master, owner, or bosun of a vessel must promptly inform an authorised officer in case of vessel loss or damage that affects its seaworthiness.
Commissioner Less Napuati of VMSA confirmed that the captain had not adhered to the marine weather warning in effect at the time.
Despite the warning, the captain decided to depart from Malekula to Port Vila, damaging the main ramp door and fittings, making it inoperative.
Consequently, the vessel’s current condition poses a significant risk to its safe operation.
Eyewitnesses reported that, due to the damaged ramp door, the vessel had to operate in reverse in order to dock at the main wharf.
Commissioner Napuati expressed concern over the captain’s actions, emphasising that they had endangered the lives of the passengers.
VMSA, therefore, has taken decisive measures by issuing a warning letter to the Filipino captain.
VMSA has stated that the release of the vessel will only occur once all the deficiencies have been addressed and satisfactory results have been obtained.
Napuati further emphasised the importance of captains and masters remaining alert and being responsible for always checking the marine weather warnings issued by the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD).
These warnings are regularly broadcasted through Radio Vanuatu and can be accessed on the VMGD website, or even, issued by VMSA.
Commissioner Napuati appealed to all captains, masters, and skippers of banana boats to prioritise the safety of passengers by respecting and adhering to these vital weather warnings.
The VMSA remains committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety in Vanuatu’s maritime sector and will continue to enforce regulations that safeguard the lives of all individuals at sea.
Vanuatu Ferry II, which is part of the third fleet owned by Vanuatu Ferry Ltd, arrived in May and commenced its operations the previous month.