He was responding to questions raised in Parliament by Opposition MPs James Beer and Tangata Vavia on Monday regarding the inoperable Pacific Schooners Ltd vessel Tiare Taporo which has been docked at Avatiu harbour since 2016.
Puna, who is also Minister of Transport, said the Ports Authority has the power vested in them to run the harbour.
The Ports Authority was an asset of the government and was responsible for its management and upkeep, he said.
“I, as the minister of transport, have no authority to intervene in matters relating to the port security. Every authority is vested in the Ports Authority,” Puna told parliament yesterday.
“They have all the powers necessary to enforce any orders either by the court or by the authority itself. I want to make it very clear in this honorable House, so members don’t ask questions related to those issues again, the port is the total responsibility of the Ports Authority.”
Beer had raised concerns about Tiare Taporo which has remained docked since the Ports Authority-ordered evacuation of Avatiu harbour on Friday.
“It is a matter of concern that despite court orders in order to seek some clarity and action from the owners of the vessel in terms of its mobility in times of crisis such as last Friday, there has been no positive response from the owners as to what they have to do. I cannot pre-empt that, it will be highly improper of me,” Puna said.
“I believe the Ports Authority has access to the best legal advice on the island and they will be guided very well by any advice from their legal advisors.”