Marine Patrol investigates Kite Runner's recent trip to Samoa
The Marine Patrol Division of the Department of Search and Rescue is investigating how the Kite Runner was able to travel to Samoa without proper documentation to enter Samoa’s borders.
Chief of Marine Patrol Division, Ina Ulberg confirmed this with KVZK news.
"We are gathering statements from the three crew members that were on board the Kite Runner in question.
"We will be also seeking a report from Samoa’s Ministry of Police and Prisons from their investigation," said Ulberg.
In the meantime, Samoa’s Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said from preliminary reports the Kite Runner entered Samoa illegally, breaching their country's Customs laws.
"And the boat should have been seized and the crew arrested for unlawful entrance," she said.
"They did not have the proper clearance to enter our borders."
Fiame made the comments during a press conference with the media in Samoa yesterday.
According to the Prime Minister, their government officials were scrambling to get all the necessary clearances for the boat, which should have never happened in the first place.
The Prime Minister says, preliminary reports indicate the boat docked at Matautu then proceeded to Mulifanua before heading to Savai’i when the police intervened and seized the boat and escorted it back to Matautu.
Adding the involvement of government officials to get the last-minute required paperwork for a boat that entered illegally "is not a good look for the government" citing there is a failure in border security on their part.
As reported earlier this week, Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo issued a stern warning against boats from American Samoa heading to Samoa, the need to have customs clearance on hand, prior to entering its borders.
He said their laws must be upheld regardless and the incident this past weekend is a classic example.
"Foreigners on Samoan waters must abide by our laws; otherwise, there will be consequences and it does not matter who owns the vessel."
To date, repeated efforts to get comments from Papalii Laulii Alofa, the owner of Paramount Builders which the Kite Runner is registered, were unsuccessful.
However, Tish Peau, speaking on behalf of Paramount Builders said she submitted the vessel and crew’s paperwork the week prior to Flag Day and received approval a few days after Flag Day, according to Talanei reports.