Two European man who travelled across the Pacific ocean on a yacht and arrived illegally in Papua New Guinea on waters off Port Moresby were detained by Immigration officers at Bomana Immigration Centre (BIC) yesterday.
The two men departed Bora-bora Island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia 66 days ago and landed at Loloata Island outside Port Moresby over the weekend.
PNG Authorities were unaware of their arrival.
Chief Migration Officer Mr Stanis Hulahau received a tipoff over the weekend that a suspected yacht was anchored at Loloata Island and assigned Immigration officers to carry out checks.
ICA Intelligence and Enforcement officers with members of Police, Transport and Customs who boarded the yacht identified both men unlawfully in the country.
The 48 year old boat owner from France and his Belgian engineer, 48, were brought into Immigration detention after formal interview were done.
According to initial reports, both men had no intent to visit PNG but had experience mechanical faults at sea and sailed into PNG waters.
However, initial reports indicated that they switched off the boat’s transponder in Vanuatu waters about 200 nautical miles from the Solomon Islands boarder.
They arrived in Port Moresby a month after the transponder was switched off.
CMO Hulahau says both men have Indonesian visas but because they have no entry permits (visa) to enter PNG they are being detained at BIC until a full joint investigation is complete.
“We have procedures for entry either by air, sea or through land and now we have new requirements with Covid-19 protocols and we expect everyone to comply and notify authorities of their entry” says Mr Hulahau.
Mr Hulahau says the yacht is registered in Tahiti and while both men are detained at BIC PNG Authorities would carryout a full investigation into this unlawful entry.