On August 20, 2020 representatives from several government agencies met at the EQPB Office to discuss disposal plansfor derelict vessels, Venus 103 and Venus 107 at Ngerchaol in Rebaimelachel. Venus 103 and Venus 107 were tethered together at Ngerchaol until August 7 when Venus 103 sank while Venus 107 remained afloat. Plans to dispose of the two vessels must be in accordance with EQPB regulations as well as all other applicable regulations enforced by relevant agencies of the Palau National Government.
Present at the meeting were: Dir. Hayes Moses and Levan Akitaya – Bureau of Marine Transportation, MPIIC; Capt. Elly Ymesei and Ryan Mikel – Koror State Rangers; Mike Blesam, Manager of the Monitoring & Compliance Division of EQPB along with his staff. Also present at this meeting was Mr. Kim Sung Gi, owner of both vessels and Siual Blesam, CEO of EQPB. All participants of the meeting agreed that protecting the pristine marine environment is of outmost importance. Collaboration from all agencies present along with the Division of Marine Law Enforcement is necessary to implement disposal plansto ensure minimal damage to the marine environment.
Moving forward, it was decided that efforts will be focused on Venus 107 as it is still afloat therefore preparing it for disposal will be easier. TheVenus 107 will be towed to the Marine Law dockwith the assistance of the Division of Marine Law Enforcement. EQPB and Koror State Rangers will monitor Mr. Kim Sung Gi as he and his staff will clear out all debris from the vessel including stripping all floatable materials. All petroleum products or any other substances prohibited for discharge under EQPB regulations will be pumped out and prepared for proper disposal. All bilge or ngmatel will be pumped as well, stored in 55 gallon drums and prepared for proper disposal. This is to ensure that no petroleum products from the engine or mixed with the bilge is discharged into the surrounding waters.
At this time, Koror State Government has approved sinking of these two vessels however the actual location is yet to be designated. Left to be addressed is Venus 103 which remains underwater in Ngerchaol. The first step to prepare Venus 103 for disposal is to re-float the vessel. Once the vessel is afloat, the same steps will be taken to clear all debris and petroleum products. Without the capacity to scrap the vessels, the next best option is to sink them in an area that is approved by EQPB and KSG.
Title 24 of the Palau National Code Annotated (Title 24 PNCA) mandates EQPB to protect and conservethe quality of Palau’s environment and its resources. This authorizes EQPB to board and inspect any vessel in Palau’s waters and to take action to minimize risk to the environment as necessary. In this connection, EQPB collaborates with partner agencieswhen an environmental accident occurs, ensuring that impacts to Palau’s environment are minimized and both land and sea remain pristine and productive. Successful partnership does not only rest within government agencies. Community members are very important partners in that you are the resource owners and as such, we ask that you report any activities that may be detrimental to our pristine environment. For more information on activities we can do to protect our environment, please call EQPB at 488-1639/3600.

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