PNG PORTS Corporation (PNGPCL) has asked the owners of some 15 shipwrecks within the port of Port Moresby to work with the corporation to remove them.

PNGPCL’s PNG Harbour Management Services (PNGHMS) has written to the owners and agents of these dead vessels and wrecks, asking them to contact PNGHMS to remove the vessels, PNG Ports said in a statement.

Chief maritime compliance officer Martin Ginyaru said the vessels were either on the shoreline of the harbour or stationed in anchorage for more than six months.

This posed a danger to navigation within the harbour as well as being a danger to the harbour’s marine environment, he said.

The vessels referred to are Niugini Dragon, Gulf Star 2, MV Gavina, Diane Dos, MV Modesta, Charter Boat, MV Fortune, FA 150, Pleasure Vessel, MV Lady Raula, MV Sunset, MV Danaya, MV Capella, MV Bougainville Atoll and MV Clouster.

If the owners fail to comply with PNGHMS’ advice, PNGHMS will proceed to dispose of the wrecks in any ways it sees fit and pass the costs of disposal to the owners without further notice, Mr Ginyaru added.

“In addition, the owners will be prosecuted as it is an offence under the Port (Management and Safety) Regulation 2010 for owners to abandon dead vessels and wrecks within the declared port limits without approval from the port manager,” he said.

Once completed in Port Moresby port, the removal exercise will be rolled out to other declared ports.

As a result, Mr Ginyaru is appealing to all vessel owners whose vessels have been lying idle or as wrecks within any port limits to start taking steps to remove them.

PNGPCL chief executive Stanley Alphonse said PNGPCL through its maritime division or PNGHMS as it is known was delegated the responsibility by the Department of Transport (DOT) to control and regulate activities within the declared and non-declared ports in the country.

“To take carriage of this responsibility, we established the PNGHMS in our organisational structure to be responsible for the regulatory functions including other compliance issues,” Mr Alphonse said.

The delegation by DOT empowers PNGHMS to control and regulate activities within the declared ports as stipulated in the Harbours Act and the Ports Management and Safety Regulation 2010.

The powers and functions of PNGHMS under these legislations are to control and regulate all waters and the use of all waters within the declared ports, PNGPCL said.