PM warns Individuals to stay out from Foreign vessels following reports of illegal activities involving sex workers
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare strongly calls on individuals including sex workers to stay out from foreign vessels.
The Prime Minister made the statement in his Nation-wide address this afternoon after it came to his attention that there are illegal activities occurring in some of the foreign vessels while at anchor within the country’s ports.
“The Oversight Committee has brought to my attention that there are illegal activities occurring in some foreign vessels while they are at anchor in our ports. These activities involve sex workers accessing some of these vessels illegally.
Now, with the risk and threat of COVID-19, it is a serious offence for anyone to board any vessel without approval.
So today, I ask all individuals including sex-workers who sometimes go to foreign vessels under the cover of darkness, to please stop such activities because you risk contracting COVID-19 and risk bringing COVID-19 into the country,” Mr Sogavare says.
There are plans in place to step up surveillance and to ensure more awareness is carried out on the risks of such illegal activities that threaten the security of the country.
While the border forces will continue to do their surveillance at the ports, they do not have the resources to do 24-hour surveillance.
The government will hold the vessel’s master and crew responsible for any breaches that allow any person especially sex-workers to board any vessel in our ports.
“I have instructed the OSC (Oversight Committee) to step up surveillance and to ensure we do more awareness about the risks of these illegal activities that threaten the security of our country.
I am putting all ships’ masters and crews, shipping agents, ship owners and operators of all foreign vessels on notice that if any person boards any of the foreign vessels in our ports illegally, be they cargo vessels, tankers, logging vessels, fishing vessels, landing crafts, tug boats or barges, the ship’s master and crews, their agents, the ship owners or operators will face punitive consequences.
If it is discovered that COVID-19 had spread to the country because of an illegal activity such as entertaining sex-worker activity on any foreign vessel while it is at port, the master and crew of the vessel will be prosecuted, and the vessel may be seized and forfeited by the State,” the Prime Minister adds.
He warns, any citizen that illegally boards a foreign vessel at any port or assists in such action commits a serious offence and will be punished under the laws of the country.
By Simon Tavake