Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > A personal story of tragedy from the Rabaul Queen disaster

A personal story of tragedy from the Rabaul Queen disaster

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments


By: Alexander Nara 

It was not just an ordinary Christmas holidays for Belinda John Kembu when she came to Kimbe three weeks ago to be with her parents and small ones.

It was a visit that any 28 year old young girl would have taken while in the process to inform parents and family members about the one who wish to take their hand in marriage.

Miss Kembu travelled to Kimbe purposely to seek her family’s approval and blessings about one special person in her life that had vowed to change her surname and to be her life partner.

During those special three weeks when Belinda was in Kimbe, that young man waited somewhere in the big city of Lae, patiently, nervous and heart pumping.

Waiting for an incoming call, the call that Belinda’s name and number would appear on his mobile screen and the sweet soft voice he knew very well would then announce the long awaited fate of their very intimate and long relationship

Belinda’s Father Pr John Kembu emotionally related between hard breathing and speechless minutes that he gave his full blessings to his daughter and urged her to join hands with her fiancée

Amid the heavy downpours and strong winds on that Tuesday afternoon before the tragedy, Belinda boarded MV Rabaul Queen with head held high, a smiling face and hopes burning as a lantern deep in her heart with the marriage blessings from her father securely tied around it to present to her soon to be husband.

Pr Kembu confirmed that he had asked Belinda to call back and inform them of the set time that she and her fiancée would be traveling back to Kimbe for their wedding.

The young man who was emotionally affected when asked to be interviewed refused to allow his name to be published for personal reasons but confirmed that it was on that Tuesday afternoon after  boarding the ship that Belinda called him.

“I will bring you to Kimbe sooner than you expect,” he recalled Miss Kembu telling her on the phone from the ship.

It was on Friday last week when the young man escorted Belinda’s body with her parents to Kimbe on the Seventh Day Adventist single engine plane from Lae that Belinda’s words became clear to him.

She had brought him to Kimbe sooner than he had expected.

  1. Vaema A Lilo
    February 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    beija will always love you and cherish ourv good times together.. love you much.

  2. JUDY
    February 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    So so sad,what a tragic loss to the family and the young man who was to marry her.My heart goes to each and every Papua New Guinean lost in this terrible tragedy.May time bring healing and may memory of the loved one live on in their hearts..O how sad.

  3. Vee
    February 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Posting this on behalf of a dear friend who was involved in the search and rescue operation:

    I am so honored to know that I had Belinda’s body in my chopper, even though I did not know that it was her body wrapped in black plastic. I am sure that the crew of MV Bougainville Coast will be honored to know that they recovered her body from the water.
    It was a traumatic experience for all of us (search & rescue) dealing with days old deceased bodies, and this story will ease all of our trauma.

    • Alup
      February 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Thank you for rescuing her body. My heart was settled, when I learnt that her body was found.

  4. hosea malana
    February 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    best story for this month. God bless her soul

  5. Allan Lumatavi
    February 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    It is sad to hear and see how our fellow Papua New Guineans going down just like that. My heart felt condolence goes out to the families of those who lost their loved once. There will be a big vecuum in you’re hearts but always see God in every situation that we go through.

    May God be you’re portion always.

  6. Alup
    February 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Asap – Beijah, sleep on, it’s almost dawn. Wong Alup H.

  7. Henima Bara
    February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I was really sadend by the touching story of this young girl, my heart felt condolence to the family and the finance, may God give them Peace in this time of great loss. It is so sad.
    My prayers are with all the families who’ve lost their loved ones. May God’s always be with them in this time.

  8. Ivan Pomaleu
    February 15, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Thank you Alex for this perspective. Very touching and appropriate. The Kembus are family friends and we had all prayed that Belinda’s’body would be recovered so that there would be an appropriate closure for the families. That her body was recovered out of so many others is a miracle! Thank you to all who were involved in the search and rescue efforts. And for those other families of those who remain missing who may not have the same privilleges as the Kembus and their families we continue to offer prayers of comfort. Ivan Pomaleu – Port Moresby

  9. Saddened
    February 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    A very touching and heart breaking story.I really feel for the immediate family and husband to be.May the good Lord give them peace in this time of tragedy.

  10. Paose Umaffa Are
    February 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    They [Jesus’ disciples] had not heeded the repeated warning, “Watch and pray.” At first they had been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralysed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.—(The Desire of Ages, 688.) – {Pr 17.3} the experience of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane contains a lesson for the Lord’s people today…. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation. Many today are fast asleep, as were the disciples. They are not watching and praying lest they enter into temptation. Let us often read and give careful study to those portions of God’s Word that have special reference to these last days, pointing out the dangers that will threaten God’s people.—(In Heavenly Places, 97.) – {Pr 18.1} – Pr 17-18

    Brothers and ALL,

    when we think we’ve reached the ceiling, God still has miles, and He will be our ONLY comforter, helper, deliverer when all else fail.

    God bless

  11. John Kembu Jnr
    February 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    My dear beloved sister, i take comfort in the fact that you are now resting in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ whom you’ve faithfully served. Rest In Peace kareng…mom, dad, Lukas, Damien and i look forward to being with you forever more on that beautiful Golden Morning.

  12. Samson Lukas Kembu
    March 31, 2012 at 1:00 am


    Selfless were you, your love for friends and family true

    There was nothing impossible you could not do

    To show genuine love, compassion and kindness is what you will
    always be remembered for

    when all doors close you could open more

    Smiles, jokes, laughter and humor you had plenty in store, oh how hurtful
    it makes us feel to know that these will be no more

    You were truly one of a kind, for someone like you, these days, is rare to find

    You were friend to all and foe to none, you treated all as one

    Though your departure was untimely, we find comfort and trust
    in knowing that you’re only sleeping

    no MORE heartaches,No pain, no more troubles nor weeping

    You lived for the greater good, you had real dedication and unquestionable
    commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ

    You did your part on earth, you had faith in Him and did His work to your best
    Heaven rejoices that the Spirit of a Faithful servant has come home to rest

    But how a joyous occasion it will be, when the angels’ trumpets sound
    your spirit will surge from the Lords’ hands and your body will
    rise from the ground

    both entwined and ascending up to the sky

    certainly, will you, in a bright gown

    be wearing a golden crown.

    – written with a heavy heart by: Samson Lukas Kembu –

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