The National, Monday 13th Febuary 2012
OFFICIALS now fear that there will be many more victims than first anticipated after last week’s ferry sinking because of lax ticketing procedures.
The mv Rabaul Queen sank in rough seas off Finschhafen near the end of a 20-hour journey from Kimbe to PNG’s second largest city, Lae.
Charlie Masange of the Morobe provincial disaster management office said the number of people rescued had been recalculated as 237.
He said new information from relatives of those onboard could well advance the number of people killed in the disaster.
“And we found that about 179 could be unaccounted for meaning they did not purchase those tickets properly or in a right way, they might have just given the money to the ticket person and they just got on board the ship at Kimbe,” he said in a radio interview.
Masange said it was up to the ship’s captain to restrict the number of passengers to the 310 it was licensed to carry.
A church worker looking after survivors of last week’s ferry disaster said many of them were dealing with stomach pain after swallowing oily seawater.
Angela Worealevi of the Catholic Diocese in Lae said her centre was housing 66 survivors, 35 of whom were students.