Survivors and relatives welcome probe

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 10th Febuary 2012

THE mv Rabaul Queen survivors and their relatives now camped in Lae have welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for a full independent commission of inquiry into the nation’s worst maritime disaster.
Survivors, their relatives and relatives of the more than 100 passengers, yet to be accounted for, welcomed the announcement on Wednesday during O’Neill’s visit.
O’Neill was accompanied by two ministers and four provincial political heads.
Apart from their call for a thorough investigation into the accident, other appeals were for the extension of search and rescue operations and the salvaging of the vessel from the bottom of Vitiaz Strait, between the Solomon and Bismarck seas.
“The people of Papua New Guinea have been compromised and this independent inquiry will cover everybody, every passenger will be accounted for,” O’Neill said.
He hinted that leaders and heads of the relevant authorities who failed to make sure the shipping industry and service providers like Star Shipping abided by the regulations would be investigated.
Members in the audience at the St Paul’s Primary School hall shouted compliments and clapped to thank O’Neill.
O’Neill promised that under the chairmanship of retired judge Warrick Andrews and a reputable Queen’s Counsel from Australia, the investigation would be free of government influence.
As a result of the mv Rabaul Queen disaster, separate investigations will now carried out into the National Maritime and Safety Authority and the Border Development Authority.