Home > Human rights, Papua New Guinea > 300 passengers believed to have perished in the ill-fated Rabaul Queen

300 passengers believed to have perished in the ill-fated Rabaul Queen

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

MORE than 300 passengers were believed to have perished in the disastrous sinking of the Rabaul Queen during the early hours of Thursday last week, reports the Post Courier

And the ship is believed to have completely submerged with no sight from where it went down nine nautical miles off Finschaffen.

Reports reaching the Post- Courier have stated that the vessel was overloaded allegedly carrying more than 700 passengers on board, (400 when it left Buka, more than 100 got on in Rabaul and about 360 from Kavieng and Kimbe) not the initial 350 that had been repeatedly quoted by the media.

Chief Executive Officer of National Maritime and Safety Authority (NMSA), Captain Nurur Rahman, had indicated the ship was overloaded adding that its certificate allowed for only 310 passengers. Rabaul Shipping initially advised there were 350 passengers and 12 crew members on board but survivors are now testifying that there were hundreds more on board that fateful voyage.

NMSA has also advised the total number of passengers is sketchy because there was no proper manifest from Buka, Rabaul and Kimbe apart from the list they have and besides many passengers especially in Buka and other centres bought their tickets at the wharf.

Many survivors rescued and recovering in Lae have confirmed this and were also denying both local and foreign media reports that there were about 350 passengers’ destined for Lae before it sank last Thursday.

The Post-Courier confirmed that unlike passengers travelling on aeroplanes, certainly there will be no passenger manifest released to confirm the right number of passengers on board the vessel, including survivors and the ones missing.

More and more survivors are pasting on social media groups and facebook and from survivors interviewed, the vessel was obviously overloaded.

This is another story published on facebook by a relative of a survivor:

“From my younger brother, who was on board MV Rabaul Queen when disaster struck.
“There were actually 780 passengers on board – 420 from Rabaul/Kavieng /Buka and 360 from Kimbe.
“Mostly young children, mothers and students. There weren’t any emergency procedures or demonstrations when they got on the ship and the shipping agency didn’t limit passenger intakes.

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  1. Eremas Wartoto
    February 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I have been busy trying in the last three years to upgrade or contribute to acceptable standard of transportation in PNG. Im 100% percent sure the Rabaul Queen or any queen for that matter is not a sea worthy vessel to travel on at Australian standard let alone our PNG standards. I also give my thumps up for Mr Peter Sharp for his committment in transportation in PNG so far under difficult circumstanstances, but it is also a crime to float a vessel that have not met the basic safety requirement. A while back Mr Sharp ban all expatriate on travelling in his queens (ships) which one would view as an acknowlegement of the poor saftety standard on his vessels which could result in courts outside PNG paying huge amount of compensation unheard of in PNG legal system. Further more overloading the Rabaul Queen with more than 200 passengers without proper sitting is a crime beyond crime. Peter Sharp is also a blood brother of the chairman of National Maritime Safety Authority of PNG. Im also aware that I wrote these comments not because I own a competitive business to Mr Peter Sharp but because Im a relative, a friend and a wantok of those missing love ones.

    I pray we keep looking and find those missing alive in the next one week.

    My name is Eremas Wartoto.

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