Hon, 27 October 2020: The public has been warned to stay off visiting foreign vessels as Maritime Police stepped up their operations to ward off anyone breaching the rules under the COVID-19 Regulations.
This regulation prohibits crews on all foreign vessels from going ashore and those from the shore from visiting the ships.
With fishing boats slowly coming back into Honiara harbour for tuna transhipment, the maritime police have also stepped up their visibility in the harbour to curb illegal visits to the vessels.
At the moment only the Compliance officers from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Customs officers are permitted to visit the foreign fishing vessels.
RSIPF Maritime Division, Commander Chief Superintendent, Charles Fox says, “The Maritime Division is assisting the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources as part of the COVID 19 ongoing operation, to make sure OBMs do not visit the foreign vessels anchored in the Point Cruz harbour in an operation which begun on 21 October 2020.”
This Operation is purposely to prohibit outboard motors (OBM) from going out to the foreign vessels upon their arrival into the country.
Police will patrol the vicinity of the transhipment vessels to make sure no one is allowed to go out to those foreign fishing vessels. OBMs and all other canoes are prohibited. Any body found breaching the COVID-19 Maritime Regulation will be prosecuted.
“Sea patrols will be done regularly to closely monitor the movement of OBMs and other small crafts. The crew on the foreign vessels are not allowed to go ashore from the vessels and no one is allowed to board the vessels as stipulated under the COVID-19 Regulations,” says Chief Superintendent Fox
“I want to appeal to the general public and to the fish sellers to follow the Regulation that the Government has put in place to protect us all from the COVID-19 pandemic.”