Friday, February 01, 2013

Questions asked on PNG ferry disaster anniversary

On the first anniversary of Papua New Guinea's worst maritime disaster, families of the victims say they are still looking for answers.
At least 140 people died when the Rabaul Queen passenger ferry sank in rough seas off the country's north coast on February 2, 2012.
Despite the scale of the tragedy and a damning inquiry, police are yet to start a criminal investigation.
The final death toll from the disaster is not known, with the commission of inquiry finding that between 140 and 160 people died.
Authorities are yet to issue death certificates to families of the victims.
Tommy Yep, who has been campaigning on behalf of victims and whose son Theodore survived the disaster, says many people just want to move on.
"There were people on the ship that were public servants, there were teachers, they have other professions," Mr Yep said.
"According to the law you need to produce a death certificate so that they can sort out your entitlements and whatever else."
The commission of inquiry found the ferry was unseaworthy, unsafe and should not have been sailing in the rough conditions.

Its report said the Rabaul Queen was carrying at least 80 more passengers than it was permitted to and the crew was neither competent nor qualified.
Acting Police Commissioner, Simon Kauba, says detectives are yet to start collecting evidence due to a shortage of funds.
Mr Kauba says money has now been allocated and an investigation should start in mid-February.
The National Maritime Safety Authority was labelled as "incompetent" and "ineffective" in the commission's report.
National Maritime Safety Authority CEO, Chris Rupen, declined requests for an interview and is yet to respond to emailed questions regarding what, if any of the inquiry's recommendations have been implemented.

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