TWO overseas yachts that entered the country illegally have been seized and detained by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and Customs authorities and they are now anchored outside Customs House in Point Cruz.
In a media statement yesterday, Officer of the Prime Minister said, “At 5pm yesterday, the RSIPF headquarters received reports from their staff at Aola village in East-Central Guadalcanal and members of the community at Aola about two yachts that had anchored at Paralau Island just outside Aola village.
It was reported some individuals approached one of the yachts and asked for fuel so they could patrol the area to keep an eye on the yachts.
The RSIPF dispatched MV Gizo with a team comprising members of the Maritime Police, Customs, Immigration, and Health, to investigate the reported entry of the yachts, and to detain and escort the yachts to Honiara for further investigations.
One of the yachts is called ROCKE HULL, and three crew members were sighted on it – one male and two females. The other yacht is called OCEANIS 473, and one male crew was sighted on it.
The two yachts arrived at Point Cruz at around midday today under Police escort. A boarding party will board both yachts, to deliver to the respective captains their breach and detention notices. Each of the crew members will be swabbed and tested for Covid-19.
Once the covid-19 test results are known, orders will be made to disembark the crew members, who will then undergo mandatory quarantine at government approved quarantine stations at their own cost.
As part of the precautionary measures, Police and health authorities at Aola village have been advised to inform all the individuals that had approached the yachts while they anchored at Paralau island, to maintain social distancing and to not interact with any other members of the Aola Community until the results of the covid-19 tests on the crews are known, and they are advised on further measures to be taken.
Investigations have already commenced to establish the reasons for their illegal entry as well as on any covid-19 related breaches the crew may have committed.
Investigations are also being undertaken at Aola, just to ensure we have full knowledge of everything that transpired between the boats, their crews and the people that went to one of the yachts to ask for fuel because COVID-19 can be transferred through goods touched by infected individuals.
These two yachts have broken several laws in our country by entering without approval during our ‘State of Public Emergency’.
Members of the public and communities are advised not to engage with any foreign vessel that may come to your area or their crew because they could be a huge risk to your communities if the crew are infected by COVID-19 or any other disease.
We will update you on developments on this case as it progresses.”