A diver in Vanuatu says the increasing number of cruise ships visiting Vanuatu could be in danger from at least five live Second World War bombs at the entrance of Port Vila's busy shipping lane.

Fabrice Bilandong was among a group of divers who first saw the bombs in Vila Bay, near Ifira Island, about two years ago, and though they have alerted authorities there have been no attempts to detonate the bombs.

He told Radio Australia's program that it wasn't until a warship laid its anchor near the unexploded bombs that they had to personally act.

"We had some warships come here, they put their anchor close to those bombs, so we had to tell them if they could shift their boat because there were bombs.

"After they heard that they shifted the warship from the bay to the seafront.

"Because they are navy, myself and another instructor took them down and they said 'yeah, it's real time, they're big bombs'."

Mr Bilandong says the manager of the dive shop where he worked, a former member of New Zealand's military, intially helped identify the threat.

"We went for a dive out at the point to see if we could find some little bullets from World War II because there used to be a New Zealand air base there.

"Close to the big watch light we found five big bombs, 1.3 metres long and 40 centimetres wide, they're down 17 metres.

"We thought they were big bottles of gas, but when we looked properly at the back we just said 'oh yeah, these are big bombs'.

"We told the big boss, they couldn't believe we found bombs there, so they gave us an underwater camera so we took some pictures of them.

"I even lay down next to one so I could get a picture."

The photos of the munitions were lost when the dive shop changed hands.

Early this year, Mr Bilandong says officials from Australia, New Zealand and local ports and harbour authorities met with the divers, where he and the other instructor pointed out the location on a map.

They told Mr Bilandong they would talk to the Vanuatu Government to obtain permission to detonate the bombs.

Then in July the crew from a New Zealand warship joined the local divers on a mission to view the bombs.

"They were looking at the bombs, they even took their knife out to try and scape it off (rust) and they said 'yeah, it's real, it's still live'."

Mr Bilandong says he asked the navy team when the bombs might be detonated, and their reply was that while they had the equipment to do the job they had not received authorisation from the government before their mission ended.

Port Vila hosts some of the world's largest cruise ships many times per week.

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