The National, Wednesday July 11th, 2012
APPARENTLY overcrowded and unstable, poorly maintained with a poorly-performing crew, the mv Rabaul Queen left Kimbe for Lae on Feb 1 with possibly more than 500 passengers on its final journey into tragedy.
A preliminary investigation report by the National Maritime Safety Authority, which began five days after the ship sank in heavy seas, nine nautical miles off Finschhafen in Morobe, on Feb 2, alleged, among other things, that Capt Anthony Tsiau and crew did not practise or had not practised safety induction and demonstrations to passenger prior to sailing.
The skipper and crew also could not tell whether or not the ship was stable because vital data and documents were not on board.
The ship was struck by three waves and the report pointed to the vessel’s unstable condition as a major contributory factor to its capsize.
A total of 237 people were rescued in the hours after the ship went down to a watery grave. Only four bodies were ever recovered.
More than 100 remain missing, presumed dead.