Pacific news in brief for June 7

Vanuatu – redundancies

Security measures have been tightened at the Air Vanuatu head office after the national carrier announced mass redundancies.

There are reports of office vehicles, including trucks and buses, being taken from the premises.

According to an email obtained by the Vanuatu Daily Post, there are bleak prospects for the continuation of operations.

Air Vanuatu’s domestic operations have come to a halt and the company has been placed in liquidation.

Samoa – visa

The Samoa government says fears of a brain drain is why it’s keeping the new Australian Pacific Engagement Visa at arm’s length for now.

The inaugural Pacific Engagement Visa ballot opened this week and offers people and their families permanent residency in Australia.

The Samoa Observer reported while the opportunity is available to Pacific nations, Samoa’s Finance Minister Lautimuia Uelese Vaai said there were factors the government took into account, including an impact on the economy.

Papua New Guinea – crime

Six Papua New Guinea policemen, who had been charged with breaking into a bottle shop last New Year’s Eve, have been discharged because their police files had not been properly serviced.

The men, who were on bail, appeared in the Committal Court at Waigani in Port Moresby.

The National reported the magistrate telling the men that their discharge is not the equivalent of an acquittal.

Albert Daniels said the policemen could be brought back to court if police choose to hand up the police file.

Northern Mariana Islands – Asiana airlines

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines is set to close its Saipan office for good.

The carrier’s Saipan regional sales office manager, Intak Hwang, says after three decades of service in the Northern Mariana Islands, their last operation will be on 30 June.

Hwang said the airline has been promoting Korean tourism in the CNMI since 1992.

The closure comes at the heels of Hyatt Regency Saipan closing the doors on the islands’ first brand hotel at the end of this month.

Samoa – ship

A passenger ship, the MV Lady Naomi, which sailed between Samoa and American Samoa, has been intentionally sunk off the coast of Apia after 26 years of service.

It had a significant presence on the waters between Apia and Pago Pago, as well as other neighbouring countries on chartered trips.

The vessel’s final voyage to American Samoa was in 2023.

The Samoa Observer reported the decision to retire and sink the vessel follows its replacement by the MV Lady Samoa IV.

Nauru/Australia – aid

The governments of Nauru and Australia have signed an agreement which provides $1.7million Australian dollars for education.

The funds will support Nauruan students studying in Brisbane, and contribute to supporting expatriate teachers, as well as programs run by TAFE Queensland, a vocational school.

Financial assistance is also provided to enable year 12 students to receive an Australian certificate upon completing high school.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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