Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash

More than two months since a rusty barge that is believed to have originated in Indonesia was found adrift on Angaur reef in Palau, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce (MPIIC) said that it has already issued a notice of violation to the Indonesian Embassy.

In a letter dated November 13, 2019, Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce Minister Charles Obichang said that the notice of violation was already sent to the Indonesian Embassy through Palau’s Ministry of State on November 12, 2019.

Minister Obichang, through the letter said, reassured that the MPIIC and all government agencies involved seek to “properly address this unfortunate incident.”

The Minister revealed that they are working closely with the Environmental Quality Protection Board(EQPB) and the Ministry of State (MOS) in addressing the issue but also admitted that identifying the owners of the barge, Asia Perdana, has been the biggest challenge.

“EQPB is in the process of trying to get compensation for damages from the owners through diplomatic channels,” he said in the letter.

He also stated that the EQPB has already sent a team to assess the damage that the barge caused to the coastline of Angaur State.

“The executive branch understands the gravity of this issue and has been working to seek an amicable solution to this unfortunate incident which has a profound impact on Angaur State,” the letter read.

The Minister revealed that Angaur Governor Kennosuke Suzuky was also already advised regarding his plan to gain salvage rights to the barge. He added that the governor was told that the identification of the owners and an agreement to relinquish their rights are necessary prior to any claim of ownership.

The Times, as of yesterday, received an information that the barge is still in Angaur’s water.

We previously reported that Asia Perdana, an empty and already rusty barge, was found on the shore of the Protected Area Network (PAN) in Angaur.

The vessel was believed to have been swept away from Asia due to a storm and ended up on the reef of Angaur on August 27, 2019, causing great damage to the protected site. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)