THE five sea survivors from New Ireland province are still stranded in the Marshall Islands’ capital, Majuro, and will not be home for Christmas because one of them is currently ill and unfit to travel, National Disaster Commission director Martin Mose said yesterday.
Mr Mose said the patient had been admitted to one of the hospitals on Marshall Islands where he was currently receiving treatment.
“There are no clarifications on what illness he is suffering from,” he said.
But Mr Mose said it was believed that he was being treated for malnutrition and dehydration from the time he was admitted to Majuro hospital last month following their rescue at sea near Nauru, after drifting in open sea for two months with very little food and water.
Solomon Kantha, from International Organisation for Migration in Papua New Guinea, also confirmed this saying that funding was now available to repatriate the New Irelanders, from Tabar Island, but they were still waiting for information from Marshall Islands to confirm the condition of the sick patient before arrangements could be made.
“By the look of things, they won’t make it home this Christmas.
“It looks like they will be coming home next year,” Mr Kantha said.
The five were rescued by the fishing vessel Ocean Encounter on Nov 17 and taken to Majuro where their condition was described as “really weak” by shipping agent Morton Enos.
Three of the original eight drifters died before making it to Majuro.
The remains of the two men who died on the fishing vessel had been transferred to the Majuro hospital morgue, and the Marshall Islands ministry of foreign affairs is also making arrangements with the PNG Government.
However, the third body could not be recovered, as it is believed to have either sunk or eaten by sharks.