By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
THE PNG Navy intercepted an unidentified foreign vessel in waters off New Ireland on Saturday, fired at it when it ignored orders to stop, injuring one of its crew members, an official says.
PNG Defence Force Chief of Staff Captain Philip Polewara told The National that the foreign vessel which was unregistered was then escorted back to Kavieng Port by naval officers on the HMPNGS Moresby.
Capt Polewara confirmed that the PNGDF was now assisting police in their investigations into the vessel.
“As it is, I am unable to reveal any more information but can confirm the boat has no name, is unregistered and no other information can be found on it,” he said.
“Only one crew member on board is able to speak English.
“There is no fish on board as well.” It is understood that naval officers on the HMPNGS Moresby had warned the crew members of the foreign vessel to stop.
But it continued to sail away.
The officers fired another warning shot but to no avail.
The navy ship then pulled up alongside the vessel and fired shots injuring the crew member.
A police source in New Ireland confirmed with The National that the crew member who was shot was recovering at the Kavieng General Hospital after an operation.
The vessel is anchored off the Kavieng port wharf.
New Ireland police and the provincial administration confirmed yesterday that the incident occurred on Saturday evening as the HMPNGS Moresby was leaving for the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus.
Police officers from Port Moresby accompanied by members of the Australian Federal Police arrived in the province on Monday to investigate what the boat was doing in the area.
Officers from the police, customs, National Fisheries Authority and Defence Force searched the vessel and found only two passports.
On board were eight men who appeared to be from different countries.
The area where the vessel was intercepted between New Ireland and Manus is known to seafarers as the Morgado Square.
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA