The National, Wednesday July 24th, 2013
THE National Maritime Safety Authority will conduct a preliminary investigation into the grounding of Rabaul Shipping’s vessel mv Alotau in West New Britain.
The vessel encountered problems on the night of July 14 after water leaked into its engine room while travelling from Rabaul to Lae.
It was carrying 75 passengers.
The vessel ran aground near Kilenge Mission, in West New Britain.
Villagers in the Kilenge area who spotted the ship’s lights out at sea went to bring the passengers to safety using banana boats.
The passengers stayed at the village overnight.
The West New Britain disaster office is keeping in touch with the Rabaul Shipping head office in Rabaul over the incident.
Rabaul Shipping informed the NMSA that they had sent the mv Morobe Queen to Kilenge to pick up the stranded passengers.
The vessel was reported to have arrived at Kilenge on Monday morning.
The NMSA said the mv Alotau was undergoing temporary repairs after water was pumped out early this week.
The NMSA confirmed that procedures were being taken to ensure the vessel did not put at risk other vessels in the area.
According to a female survivor who called up the local radio station in East New Britain on Sunday, there were no casualties but some passengers had lost their belongings during the incident.
She said some of the properties could have been stolen by others on board.