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 »