The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) wishes to clarify to the public that the MV Worship Light entry into the country did not breach any COVID-19 measures.

The OPMC confirms that the MV Worship Light, with regards to COVID-19 entry protocols, was fully compliant.

The OPMC says that with regards to the Standard Operating Procedure, all Foreign Vessel entering Solomon Islands must comply with the 14-day period immediately before entering the port unless exempted by the Oversight Committee and must also supply the following information to the Comptroller:

1. Full reasons (business case) for request for early clearance

2. Voyage route and all ports visited with dates and time in each port for past 3 weeks

3. Health clearance certification of crew at last port of call by competent medical authority

4. Names and passport details of all crew

5. Prior 3 week travel history of all crew

6. Prior 3 week medical history of all crew

7. Details of any crew who embarked and or disembarked during the voyage, and full reasons why they embarked / disembarked (for example, Were they sick? What sickness, symptoms

8. Complete Cargo manifest destined for Honiara

Under the Customs legislation, the clearing of vessels and permission to grant discharging of Cargoes vests with the Comptroller of Customs. The necessary approvals were granted by Customs.

These protocols include ensuring that Health Officials board the vessel before Customs, Immigration and Biosecurity.

The OPMC says that the issue with MV Worship Light is “not COVID-19 related but a matter under the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration Act 2009.

“The letter issued by the Director of SIMSA is issued pursuant to Regulation 20 of the Maritime Safety Administration (Ship and Port Security) Regulations 2011 and is not related to the State of Public Emergency in any way as implied.”

In a prepared statement the OPMC says that the Prime Minister will be making Orders to formalise the Standard Operating Procedures and breach of these Orders will be subject to penalties.

The Government assures the public that it is taking all necessary but proactive measures to avoid the potential entry and/or spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The Government is fully committed to the fight against the entry or spread of the coronavirus in the interest of national unity, economic stability, peace and progress.

“The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is only a call or email away so the Leader of Official Opposition could have asked to get the correct information before making any statement.

“At this critical time, the Leader of Official Opposition should not be engaging in political point scoring but as a responsible leader, Hon. Matthew Wale should be endeavouring to provide the public with correct facts and not mislead the public,” the statement added.

Source: OPMC media release