By GABRIEL LAHOC
CHECK your motor, fuel, dinghy weight and take other necessary precautions when going out to sea.
This is the strong message from Huon Gulf district administrator, Tony Ase, in light of the very strong winds currently battering the coastal areas of Morobe province.
The strong winds caused a Morobe patrol post-bound dinghy to sink last week, resulting in the death of a young girl and the disappearance of her father.
Their boat capsized last Wednesday. The missing father, Meko Oiye, from Sapa village in Morobe LLG in the Huon Gulf district, was the skipper of the dinghy which sank off the coast of Paiawa village.
Relatives said Oiye was lost in the rough seas and very strong winds while his daughter was found dead the next day still hanging on to an empty plastic container, with her left leg ripped off, presumably by sharks.
The dinghy, owned by former acting provincial administrator Patilias Gamato, which was transporting mostly passengers from Morobe patrol post, was recovered the same afternoon by another dinghy and was towed ashore.
The other passengers who lost all their belongings managed to swim ashore.
The initial search and rescue mission by other local dinghies travelling the route was called off after nightfall.
The provincial Disaster and Emergency Service has been involved since last week in the search for the skipper.
“Don’t risk it,” Mr Ase said as he visited the boat operators at Voco Point last week and told them to take necessary precautions during bad weather.
On Saturday evening, an accountant from Labu Butu had a lucky escape after his dinghy encountered mechanical problems when on his way to the village from Lae.
Danny Watu, in his mid 40s, was swept out to sea from the Lae port and eventually found anchor at a small light house near Salamaua Point.