Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > Rabaul Queen sinking a crime against humanity

Rabaul Queen sinking a crime against humanity

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Teddy Winn

Peter Sharp and Harmish Sharp, co-owners of Star Shipping and Bismark Marine are now tight-lipped over the fourth and fatal disaster involving one of their ferries, which is not a fully-fledged merchant or passenger ship that is capable of cruising on such treacherous conditions for longer than expected. In particular, Peter Sharp after all, may not be the chief mariner he once claimed to be. The recent tragedy that occurred off the Finschhafen waters in the Morobe Province may be the anticlimax of his shipping business. I offer my deepest sympathies to the survivors and the families of those who lost loved ones to that freakish disaster.

I suggest that this tragedy must be elevated to the status of crime against humanity based on professional negligence by the Star Shipping management in operating unseaworthy merchant fleet. One man’s greed for money has cost the lives of innocent others, most of whom are women, children and elderly. In view of this, certain facts must be accounted for to support the call for a thorough investigation by the National Maritime Safety Authority.

First, it was evident that many weeks prior to the disaster, precautionary warning measures have been sounded by the national disaster and weather offices to all, including operators of boats and vessels operating along the PNG coastal waters. It is expected that local merchant shipping owners should take heed and exercise reasonable care, and consistently apply safety measures.

Second, Star Shipping and Bismark Marine on record has so far been involved in three similar incidents in the recent years, and those grey lessons should be reason enough for them to improve, or completely revamp their ailing merchant fleet. A 1983 ferry intended for short trips should be decommissioned by now.

Third, because there is lack of competition, owners of these ships were cosier with accumulating profits, thus neglecting their social corporate responsibility to act on good faith and apply reasonable care of duty. Safety records were not fully complied with in almost all routes operated by Star Shipping and Bismark Marine ferries. Against these three lessons, I basically argue that whether this tragedy is natural or merely erroneous judgement by the ship’s crew, Star Shipping must be made accountable for sheer negligence and professional misjudgment.

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  1. Karsie
    February 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    What is the role of NMSA in ensuring safety of ships/ marine crafts and human life apart from policy and regulatory responsibilities? How are their policies and regulations implemented and subsequently assessed? Can anyone in the know shed some light?

  2. hope
    February 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    The owners of the vessel are fully responsible for sheer negligence in providing acceptable service to the people of PNG. It is inhuman to treat fellow humans with less discency and courtesy if you are being paid for the service you provide. Unfortunately for PNG, people appreciate whatever service they request for; should it meet acceptable standard or not so long as the end result is met. Every citizen struggle daily to meet their needs, due to rising cost of living they look for cheaper means of doing things or moving from one location to another. The ferry disaster is the result of this nation not looking after its citizens, the citizens who voted people into power, the citizens who may one day become a lawyer, a journalist, a doctor, a pilot, a ship’s captain, a pastor etc..

  3. Las Island
    February 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Get the eff owner out of the country, forfeit all assets to the state after all dues in relation to recent tragedy. Sack all NMSA officials from top down as they are are equally responsible as the owner. Yupla NMSA mas save olsem yu are PNGs. Go & stick yourself under your tumbunas skirts…geez…sacrificing human lives for your short lived glory. Man, yumi Papua New Guineans yah.

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