The Solomon Islands has issued a moratorium on all countries while it strives to introduce new rules and processes for military vessels entering the port.
The announcement from Manasseh Sogavare, the Prime Minister, came through after it was made public that the US had been issued a moratorium notice.
On 29 August, the US received formal notification from the Solomon Islands’ government regarding a moratorium on naval visits, pending updates in its protocol procedures, the US embassy based in Canberra mentioned on Tuesday in a statement.
It comes after Honiara failed to respond to a request for a US Coast Guard vessel to dock and refuel on Friday. The ship was reportedly diverted to Papua New Guinea.
There was a reported delay in processing the ship’s approval. But by then, the vessel had already departed from Solomons’ waters when the approval was finally given, Sogavare mentioned. He specified that the delay was due to the appropriate information not being sent to his office promptly.
Manasseh Sogavare has used the incident as a justification for this moratorium.
To this end, the partners are requested to allow time to review and implement new processes before sending requests for military vessels to enter the country, Sogavare mentioned, as he welcomed Honiara, the US navy hospital vessel, on Tuesday evening.
He added that all the nations would be informed once the new mechanism was set. He also said that the authorities anticipate the revised process to be timelier and smoother.
On Monday, a US navy hospital ship named Mercy was docked in Honiara for a two-week mission.
A statement from the US embassy mentioned that Mercy received its diplomatic clearance before the notice of moratorium implementation was received. It added that the embassy would continue to monitor the situation closely.
Anthony Albanese, Australia’s Prime Minister, plans to host the Solomons’ counterpart in the coming weeks as Australia desires to strengthen its relationship with the Pacific nation.
References: The Guardian, NBC News