All’s well that ends well. Refuse from visiting US Government vessels can be discharged at the port of Pago Pago.
This was confirmed at a meeting at the Department of Agriculture yesterday attended by officials of Port Administration, Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the local agents for NOAA vessels, Polynesia Shipping.
In March, a NOAA research vessel Oscar Elton Sette was unable to unload refuse which had collected during its trip to Pago Pago from its homeport of Honolulu, and during fisheries research in local waters, before it left port.
The vessel then turned to Samoa which was included in its fisheries research and was able to discharge its refuse in Apia.
At yesterday’s meeting, all was settled and what led to the NOAA vessel being refused garbal and waste disposal in the territory was put down to a misunderstanding.
NOAA representative at yesterday’s meeting, Gataivai Talamoa, said they were finally able to sit down and settle the matter and he is thankful to the ASG officials for their time and efforts spent on researching pertinent information on this subject.
The Quarantine Division of the Department of Agriculture had quoted local statute which had wording to the effect that no foreign vessel can discharge wastes here.
The meeting, was attended by Acting Director of Agriculture, Peter Gurr, Agriculture’s Quarantine Supervisor, Elisapeta Sualevai, Sala Peter Te’o of Polynesia Shipping , Deputy Director of Port Christopher King and Talamoa.
One of the requirements of the law which was emphasized at yesterday’s meeting, is that an agriculture quarantine inspector must be present to supervise the loading and unloading of any and all garbage and other refuse containers.
KHJ News was told that when the Oscar Elton Sette was here in March, the American Samoa Department of Health, Immigration Office and Customs completed their respective clearance of the vessel, but there was no inspector from the Department of Agriculture’s Quarantine Division, to supervise the discharge of wastes on the day the vessel left port.