The National, Monday 06th Febuary 2012
By LARRY ANDREW
A TOTAL of 238 survivors were rescued by five foreign vessels and transported to Lae in the early hours last Friday including the 54-year-old captain from the Catarets, North Solomons.
The Provincial Disaster and Emergency Services team together with police, Morobe provincial administration officials and a medical team from Angau Memorial Hospital had set up three processing points. One was at PNG Ports, another at the Angau hospital premises and the third at the disaster centre. Most of the survivors were treated for trauma.
The first vessel, mv Mol Summer, arrived with 116 survivors at 2400 hours and were transferred onto a PNG Ports pilot boat to be taken ashore. All port operations ceased at 2200 hours to stand by and assist.
The other vessels msc Carole had 53 survivors on board, Violet had 31, Zong He 29 and Cap Scott nine.
The last batch of survivors arrived later in the day.
Addressing family members and relatives last Friday, assistance chairman of provincial disaster and emergency services Patilias Gamato said this
was a major boat tragedy and “some passengers are still missing”.
He said search and rescue would continue for another seven days.
Also present was Bulolo MP and National Planning Minister Sam Basil, who was handed a petition signed by the survivors calling on cabinet to appoint an independent body to investigate the maritime disaster.
They claimed the mv Rabaul Queen was not seaworthy and had taken on more passengers than was licensed to carry.
The petition also called for the Rabaul Shipping (owners of the vessel) to cease all operations forthwith until after the investigations.
Basil promised to take the matter to cabinet, assuring them that a thorough investigation would be conducted.