Foreigners charged with illegal entry

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TWO foreigners have been charged with illegally entering the country after their yacht was boarded by Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) officers yesterday.
Their yacht Vivre was intercepted and boarded by ICA officers supported by police and transport officials on Tuesday afternoon near Loloata Island.
Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau said both men did not have any PNG visa.
“Due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) protocols, health officers boarded the yacht first and cleared it prior to the ICA officers and other support agencies boarding it,” he said. “They found the 48-year-old boat owner from France and his Belgian engineer, 48, who told the officers initially that they had departed Bora-bora Island northwest of Tahiti 66 days ago,” Hulahau said.
“When the men were interviewed (yesterday), they said that they had no intent of visiting PNG, but had experienced a mechanical fault at sea and sailed into PNG waters.”
But further investigations revealed that the men had switched off the yacht’s transponder in Vanuatu waters, about 200 nautical miles from the Solomon Islands border. They arrived in Port Moresby a month after the transponder was switched off, Hulahau said.
Hulahau said the men had Indonesian visas. They have been detained pending the completion of investigations.
“We have procedures for entry by air, sea or land. “And now we have new requirements with the Covid-19 protocols.
“We expect everyone to comply and notify authorities of their entry,” Hulahau said.
He said the yacht was registered in Tahiti.