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Lutheran Ships grounded

February 7, 2012 1 comment

Lutheran Shipping vessels grounded amidst claims the Sharp brothers are simply eliminating the competition

The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) has ordered the grounding of ships owned by Lae-based Lutheran Shipping Company over maritime safety issues.

Four of the company’s eight ships had been pulled off the sea lanes last week, affecting thousands of people and businesses in the coastal areas of Mamose and Islands regions.

Sources within the PNG’s oldest shipping company, owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church-PNG, said NMSA ordered the company to ground four of its eight vessels because they were not seaworthy.

The Ships and Survey Inspection division of NMSA confirmed the grounding of the vessels.

Sources within the division said the problem is not only confined to Lutheran Shipping, but that other coastal freight and passenger operators were also in the same predicament.

They said two other shipping companies would be targetted in the next few weeks, as NMSA clamps down on unseaworthy and unsafe ships.

The problems with Lutheran Shipping’s ships were brought to light by the NMSA Lae office, which was only recently set up and it was just starting to conduct random inspections on all vessels operating in PNG waters.

Lutheran Shipping’s vessels grounded were MV Mamose Express, MV Maneba, MV Rita and MV Umboi.

The company also owns MV Kudar, on lease to Consort Shipping, MV Wewak, MV Nagada and MV Totol but the latter two were sold.

The grounded ships were serving all the local ports like Buki, Maneba, Wasu, Sialum, Siassi in Morobe, Madang, East Sepik, Sandaun, Manus and West New Britain provinces.

Sources confirmed the grounding of the vessels because they were a risk to the travelling public and cargo.

Reports said move has seriously affected travelling public and cargo bound for these ports and to Lae.

Another of the company’s passenger vessel MV Gejamsao has been on the dry docks in Madang for the past six months.

The problems at the shipping company has also left the workers on shaky grounds, with some of them already looking for jobs elsewhere.

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