Bad weather hit ferry: Survivor

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The National,Friday June 24th, 2016

A MALE survivor of the mv Rabaul Queen ferry disaster told yesterday’s trial in the Kokopo National Court that strong winds and rough seas had persisted when the vessel was leaving Kimbe.
Peter Maip, from the Tambul-Nebilyer district in the Western Highlands, said the weather and sea conditions did not change during that leg of the voyage and the ship continued to roll and sway unsteadily.
Among those charged are ferry owner Peter Sharp and his captain Anthony Tsiau, who are facing 172 counts of manslaughter and for sending and taking an unseaworthy vessel out to sea.
The ferry, with at least 350 people on board, sank off Finschhafen, Morobe, on Feb 2, 2012.
Maip told the court that it was raining at times, combined with spray from the sea blowing in over the starboard side of the ship
He said some passengers who were standing on the starboard side of the open part of the upper deck were getting wet.
Maip had purchased his ticket from Kimbe and boarded the vessel on Feb 1, 2012.
He said there was no safety demonstration or safety announcement.
He was among many passengers on the promenade deck when three big waves struck the ship, capsizing it.
“I realised then that the ship was going to sink as sea water rushed into it. I jumped into the sea and managed to grab onto the door of the toilet that had fallen loose and hung onto it until I found a life raft,” Maip said.