Gomoga: Heed warnings

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 15th, 2013

 NATIONAL Weather Service acting director Jimmy Gomoga says people do not heed warnings despite the regular forecasts it gives on radio.

Commenting on seven Western fishermen still missing in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, Gomoga said the classic case of people not heeding weather warnings from the service was when mv Rabaul Queen sank in waters off Finschhafen, Morobe, in early 2012 with great loss of life.

“We had strong wind warnings from the Indonesian border to Daru and Kiwai Island, right up to Hood Point,” Gomoga said.

“The winds went up to storm force, especially in Gulf and Western.

“Storm force is greater than 48 knots. These are very strong winds,” he said.

“We had it broadcast through radio, however, people do not heed our warnings.”

Hopes are fading for the missing fishermen.

Thursday Island Water Police were called to join the air and sea search last Friday morning but the rescue effort was called off later that night.

Four aircraft and one vessel combed waters south of Papua New Guinea but failed to find the fishermen, who were believed to have left Daru Island on July 7.

Police said the boat and its 10 crew members intended to go fishing off Warrior Reef, 20 nautical miles west of Yorke Island, on the Australian border.

“Sometime on Sunday or Monday, the vessel overturned, throwing all on-board into the water,” Australian police said in a statement.

“Three of the men were subsequently picked up by a passing fishing boat on Monday and conveyed to Daru Island.”

The boat washed up on the PNG mainland on July 10.

The search has been suspended while further investigations are conducted with PNG authorities.