By FRANCIS ULIAU
NATIONAL weatherman Jimmy Gomoga will continue in the witness box today in the National Court trial over the Feb 2, 2012 mv Rabaul Queen ferry disaster.
On trial is vessel owner Peter Sharp along with ship captain Anthony Tsiau.
Gomoga, who is the assistant director of the National Weather Service, took the stand after midday yesterday and explained in detail the weather conditions and how raw data was collected and processed by various agencies within PNG and overseas for forecasts to be made public.
“On Jan 29, 2012, our weather forecasts had indicated strong winds.
“Our forecasters were convinced and a strong winds warning was issued,” Gomoga, who is a qualified meteorologist, told the courtroom when questioned by State lawyers.
He maintained throughout that the “quite strong winds of between 34 knots to 48 knots and rough seas” continued unabated for most of the period from Jan 29 to Feb 2, 2012.
“In Papua New Guinea, we have the wet and dry seasons.
“Between early November and May, we experience wet weather; and it peaks between January and February when the north-westerly winds are most active or are very strong,” Gomoga said.
He said dry weather was experienced between early June and late August, hitting its peak mid-June to July. When questioned on the regularity of weather information being made public, Gomoga said weather forecasts were normally dispatched every six hours.
He told the court that on Jan 30, 2012 when “I walked into the office, a strong wind warning had already been issued”.
“On Feb 1, 2012, this was increased to a gale force warning across the Coral and Solomon Seas and the Vitiaz Strait, including the waters of Finschhafen in Morobe and West New Britain.”
Gomoga said the urgency of the warning prompted him to go live on national radio that day.
By FRANCIS ULIAU