Trawler abandoned for 3 years

Normal, Papua


A PRAWN fishing trawler belonging to Philippines-owned Gensbell Marine Resources Corporation Limited has been lying idle on a beach in the Gulf province for almost three years.
The mv Regina was washed ashore on July 25, 2006, when, according to crew members, the net used to harvest prawns got tangled up in the propeller.
The crew members were picked up by another ship, mv Burai, the next morning, along with whatever belongings and equipment they could salvage.
To date, mv Regina is lodged between the villages of Ovaa-a and Ovahuhu in the Ihui district of Kikori electorate, and poses a danger to the well-being of the villages and their environment.
The ship lies close to the big river system that runs past up to seven villages and is also the breeding ground of five different species of prawns.
The villagers appealed to the company to remove the ship and save the villagers from any future mishaps that would be a health hazard and be devastating to marine life.
Rising tides and heavy rain are sure to take a toll in the years to come as there are still cylinders of gas and oil on board.
The Gulf provincial administration, the National Fisheries Authority and the Gensbell MRCL were notified of the situation, but so far no action has been taken.
Although the matter is not much of a concern to the relevant authority now, continued neglect could be devastating to the environment and the livelihood of the villagers.
Numerous trips to the relevant authorities to raise concerns have been unsuccessful, and no action has been taken to date.
“When the crew left, they gave us about 10 gallons of fuel but no one turned up to tug the ship away,” village councillor Henry Laa said.
The first trip to Port Moresby resulted in K5,000 given for the time being as a form of “compensation”, allegedly for accommodation and travel fares, but promises to remove the ship have not been kept.
“All we want is for them to come and take their rubbish away and pay compensation for the damages,” Mr Laa said.
“We are villagers, but we are not stupid,”he added.
Attempts to get comments from Gensbell were unsuccessful.