Bougainville disaster boss warns travellers

National, Normal

The National, Friday 27th January 2012

BOUGAINVILLE emergency and disaster coordinator Franklyn Lacey has appealed to coastal communities and people on the atolls and islands of Bougainville to take care when travelling out at sea.
“Those who use bananas boats, take extra fuel, spare parts like spark plugs, surplus water and food,” he said.
“Notify relatives of your trip, where you are headed and when you would be returning. These include informing the Bougainville disaster centre at Buka so we can monitor your travel,” Lacey said.
He said boat operators and passengers under the influence of alcohol must not travel as they would be putting their lives and that of passengers at risk.
“No overloading of banana boats and always travel with a fully charged mobile phone. Please adhere to this advice and remember that under the recently passed Small Craft Act, boat owners can be charged for various acts, including not applying safety regulations,” said Lacey.
Lacey said the present wet weather experienced since last month had affected food crops and road conditions of some parts of Bougainville and the atolls and islands like Petach, Matsungan and Pororan.
Lacey urged everyone to take ownership of their own safety.
He thanked the people of Bougainville for responding to an awareness conducted by his office through the broadcast and print media, which resulted in fewer boat mishaps last year.
“Compared to 2009 and 2010 where we had 15 boat mishaps, last year we had only one major boat mishap. This is a big improvement and indicates that our people are listening and abiding by our safety advice,” Lacey said.