Longest wharf in south Pacific opens in Luganville—6 months ahead of schedule

A file image of a cruise ship docked at the new Luganville wharf. Photo: Carnival Cruises

A file image of a cruise ship docked at the new Luganville wharf. Photo: Carnival Cruises

The new 360 metre Luganville Wharf was officially handed over by the Chinese Ambassador on Saturday. Government and provincial leaders were on hand to receive the important addition to Vanuatu’s infrastructure. The wharf was financed by a Chinese EXIM Bank loan of Vt 9 billion. Passenger facilities for tourist arrivals form part of the project and the wharf can receive two Read the rest of this entry »


CCECC says gravel is destined for African projects: Biosecurity Vanuatu wants it gone by weekend

aggregate Vanuatu

The China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) has responded to a story run in Daily Post this week concerning the possibility of foot-and-mouth disease being brought into the country on the aggregate material CCECC planned to use for the Bauerfield runway extensions. The company claims there are no sinister motives behind their decision to Read the rest of this entry »


New Bureau of Standards to assist with quality control of imports and exports

Vanuatu Deputy PM Joe Natuman and officials at the opening of the new Bureau of Standards, Wednesday 17 August 2017. Photo: Pacific Community

Vanuatu Deputy PM Joe Natuman and officials at the opening of the new Bureau of Standards, Wednesday 17 August 2017. Photo: Pacific Community

Trade Minister and Deputy PM Joe Natuman opened the Vanuatu Bureau of Standards yesterday. Minister Natuman explained to those at the opening that it is important that Vanuatu has quality standards for products it exports and imports. Vanuatu’s agricultural products especially must be subject to stringent quality standards. The Bureau of Standards office will enable quick answers to exporters and foreign importers as to requirements.

The Department of Cooperatives has a new Read the rest of this entry »


Shipload of potentially contaminated Chinese gravel banned from entering Vanuatu

File image of asphalt being laid over aggregate. Photo: US Govt

File image of asphalt being laid over aggregate to build a runway. Photo: US Govt

A ship carrying aggregate gravel for the runway extensions at Bauerfield has been blocked from unloading because of the biologically unsafe status of gravel from its country of origin, China. The company responsible for the shipment, the giant China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), was advised of the countries from which such material could be easily obtained when their successful bid was announced—Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. China is blacklisted for the supply of gravel because it has foot and mouth disease. If foot and mouth disease arrived here, it would quickly destroy Vanuatu’s valuable beef export industry. The pork industry would also be affected. The Director of Biosecurity, Timothy Tumukon, has advised the aggregate material cannot be unloaded here. The Council of Ministers agrees. The ship is moored in Mele Bay. It will unload equipment needed on the runway project starting Thursday. However, the aggregate must remain on board. (Daily Post)

Australia’s newly appointed Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, is presently in Port Vila on a familiarisation visit. He is responsible for Australia’s diplomacy around Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu will not permit other nations to conduct extralegal police operations on its soil, says Govt

77 alleged members of a Chinese crime syndicate were rounded up by Chinese police and flown from Nadi to China last week. Photo: CCTV

77 alleged members of a Chinese crime syndicate were rounded up by Chinese police and flown from Fiji to China last week. Photo: CCTV

Some 77 alleged members of a Chinese online fraud syndicate were detained and flown out of Fiji this week on a plane full of Chinese police. Fiji has no extradition treaty with China, meaning Fiji allowed the police force of another nation to operate on its soil outside of the checks and balances provided for by Fijian law. This is of concern for Fiji’s neighbours, including Vanuatu, because it indicates that China is willing to bypass the sovereign legal systems of our nations and conduct security operations on our soil whenever it suits them.

The Acting DG of Foreign Affairs has told the media it could not happen Read the rest of this entry »


Nurses to get pay rise under new Ministry of Health salary structure

Vila Central Hospital: pregnant women forced to sleep on the floor in maternity ward

The Health Ministry is getting appointments right with some 292 nurses being transferred to the new structure and on higher pay from tomorrow. Another 101 nurses will receive an increase shortly. There were plans for strike action at Vila Central Hospital recently, but they came to nought. And as of Tuesday this week, nurse transfers  have been completed. More senior staff—the doctors and specialists —are now being moved to the new schedules. And, what’s more, it is all being effected in the island services, too: Torba, Penama, Sanma, Northern Provincial Hospital, Malampa and Tafea.

If only Vanuatu Broadcasting Corporation could have Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu’s share of airspace revenue increases — but Fiji still retains 93%

Pacific region Flight Information Regions (FIRs)

Pacific region Flight Information Regions (FIRs)

Vanuatu’s share of the upper airspace revenue has increased following the renegotiation of the Nadi Flight Information Region (FIR) revenue sharing agreement with Fiji. Joseph Niel, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu, paints the new agreement as a Vt50 million win for Vanuatu in Daily Post. The Nadi FIR includes the airspace of Vanuatu, part of Kiribati, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, but Fiji gets the lion’s share of revenue, up to 93% – while Vanuatu gets just 2.5%. Renegotiation of the agreement, long a thorn in the side of the Vanuatu Government, had been a priority. However, questions remain about why the revenue sharing calculation still gives Fiji such a large share when similar FIR revenue sharing agreements for nearby FIRs are seemingly far more equitable. For example, the Brisbane FIR, which covers the airspace of Solomon Islands and Nauru, gives 60% of revenue to the two island nations.

The name of the new High Commissioner to Vanuatu from New Zealand Read the rest of this entry »