Then National, Tuesday 11th September, 2012
THE Rabaul Queen was built at the Higashino-cho shipyard by Kawamoto Shipbuilding in Japan and launched in December 1982 as the Leshima.
She was designed and equipped to operate in the calmer conditions of the northern part of Japanese Inland Sea.
Passenger numbers varied and depended on the length of the voyage.
For voyages of less than an hour-and-a-half, it could carry up to 550 passengers and 14 crew members.
Following its purchase by Rabaul Shipping Ltd in late 1998, the mv Rabaul Queen was issued with the Papua New Guinea survey certification on March 5, 1999, which stated that it could carry 295 passengers on its specified voyages.
The ship started passenger services in early in 1999, initially operating from Rabaul to Kavieng.
After a couple of trips between the two ports, it began on the Rabaul-Kimbe-Lae schedule.
The ship had been on this service until the disaster in February.