All domestic and foreign vessels that call into the port of Pago Pago are eligible for marine debris and oil disposal.
That’s according to Deputy Director of Port Administration Christopher King before a House hearing Friday.
The hearing was prompted by the Department of Agriculture Quarantine Division’s refusal to allow a NOAA research vessel to dispose its refuse here.
The Oscar Elton Sette was in port in March and again in May as part of an expedition to collect and study fish samples that have not been fully studied
Crew had planned to discharge refuse that accumulated on the vessel after a month at sea however DOA’s Quarantine Division, citing local statute said no.
Deputy Director of Port Christopher King told the House hearing all vessels, local and foreign, are allowed to discharge their wastes in the territory.
Play AudioKing vessels trash
Also attending the hearing were Director of Agriculture Lealao M Purcell and his Deputy Peter Gurr.
There was no NOAA representative at the hearing.
KHJ News asked NOAA’s Field Representative Gataivai Talamoa why a witness from the federal agency did not attend.
He declined to comment saying their legal advisers are doing their work.
During the hearing, Deputy Director of Agriculture Peter Gurr blamed NOAA’s local shipping agent for not doing their work that led to the misunderstanding and rejection of the trash from the NOAA vessel.
The Oscar Elton Sette sailed out of Pago Pago Harbor not able to discharge garbage, sewage and other wastes that had piled up on board.
Fortunately the Samoa Government agreed to accept their waste as soon as the vessel docked in Apia Harbor.