Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > Ferry disaster inquiry to be entirely independent

Ferry disaster inquiry to be entirely independent

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Attorney General: People treated like animals. Clear negligence. One engine not working. Overloading.


By Grace Tiden

The Attorney General Dr Allan Marat has issued instructions for an entirely independent investigation team to be set up to investigate the cause of PNG’s worst shipping disaster.

Speaking in Rabaul during the weekend, Dr Marat who is currently on compassionate leave, said he has advised through the acting Minister for Justice and Attorney General and leader of government business Moses Maladina to set up an entirely independent investigation team.

“Not investigators from the Department of Transport because I don’t trust the integrity of the composition of the membership of that investigation team. I don’t trust it. I have my own reasons,” he said.

Dr Marat also said he has instructed Mr Maladina to advice the Prime Minister to set up a Commission of Inquiry.

“One of the terms of reference on this Commission of Inquiry into the shipping disaster is to inquire into members of the travelling public here, how they are treated on board these vessels when they travel to Kimbe or Lae. Some of them stand all night. For the whole duration of the trip, they stand. There is no place to sleep because all space is taken up by other passengers. I think it is time the travelling public especially in Rabaul District be treated as human beings and not as animals,” he said.

He said they will set up an independent investigation team for the time being and later a Commission of Inquiry.

“That is the power given under the Attorney General Act through the Attorney General; he can issue at his own discretion any advice to any minister, to do what is just in these circumstances,” he said.

Dr Marat added that from information he had collected so far, the vessel MV Rabaul Queen was not in good working condition.

“I heard that it had some wet cement or there was a hole or something like that and yet the boat was allowed to sail. That is clear negligence.

“The other reasons were that one of the engines were not functioning, the ship was overloaded and the weather was very bad,” Dr Marat said.

Dr Marat said his conclusion of the manner in which people have been allowed to travel on this ships, was that people were trying to make money at the expense of the safety of the travelling public.

“I accept the fact that people need to travel. You cannot put a stop to that. But the means of transportation must always be top class. They must treat the normal travelling public as human beings not as animals,” he said.

  1. Sambo Duff
    February 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    The Marine Authorities should get rid-of this so called senior officers who conducts At Risk Behaviours. Sailor M8

  2. Eremas Wartoto
    February 8, 2012 at 12:21 am

    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 safety 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.

    Unfortunately our politicians/Leaders always comes up with crisis solutions rather than protective measures and continous improvement of our public transportation. I hear the Politicians/Leaders are now talking and pointing fingures but I bet you in a months time all 300 passengers wil be forgotten so as any improvement to our PNG public transportation system. Any investigation done is only a tool to document the findings to be addressed but if there is no government clear policy on public transportation improvement and action programme this disaster will definetely happen again in the near future. GOD BLESS PNG.

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