The National, Tuesday 14th Febuary 2012
A SHIP captain says the national government, through the National Maritime Safety Authority, should be held responsible for the
sinking of the mv Rabaul Queen.
Nakikus Konga, a former parliamentarian of East New Britain, said the authority should have closely monitored the operations of Rabaul Shipping which had been operating in PNG for 30 years.
He said the same attention should apply to other shipping companies.
Konga blamed the government, saying the authority had the power to force shipping companies to meet all safety requirements.
“We do not have to wait until after such a mishap occurred – and after 30 years,” he said.
“The government has failed in its endeavour to push the law to cater for these shipping operators so they comply strictly with the law.”
Konga, who owned four coastal boats, said fortunately the incident occurred during the day.
He said from his experience in captaining ships, the pictures posted by passenger Philip Batari on Facebook of the waves the ferry was encountering, said it all.
“As a seaman, I could see from the picture that it was a crashing wave and not a swell,” he said.
“It was eight times bigger than the ship so when it crashed down, it doesn’t matter how good the ship or captain is; they pounded the ship. It was caused by a natural disaster.”
Konga said it was a wake-up call for the government and private companies to consider the safety of vessels.
He said the government must support shipping companies financially, through government laws and policies enacted to monitor them so that they operated according to requirements.
He said that was the only way the operators could sustain services so an effective service was provided to the people.
Rabaul Shipping has been providing the cheapest means of travel for the islands region for the past 30 years.