Villagers seek compensation from owner of sunken barge

Lae News, Normal

The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011


BAWA villagers of Sio in the Tewai-Siassi district, Morobe, are seeking compensation from owners of a barge which sank off the shores of their village last weekend. 

The villagers claimed that debris and sludge of lubricants like oil and diesel were floating all over the sea and causing a hazard to their marine environment when mv Penguin sank last Saturday morning.

Chief of Bawa, Aki Puana, sent a three-man delegation to Lae yesterday to lodge their complaint with the media and also find out who the owners of the vessel are. 

The locals said the vessel had berthed at their shores on its way back to Lae from Basamuk Bay in Madang last September.

They said the skipper, James Tambale was a local from the area who berthed the boat there for safe keeping. 

The vessel was believed to have encountered problems under its hull. 

The delegation made of Tagogo Papalau, Donald Donson and Simon Gambi, said the 26m vessel had on board 16 empty 12-foot containers and an excavator. 

The containers, they said, were floating on the sea and on to the seashore with other boat debris while the excavator went down with the vessel.

“The vessel had berthed on our shore for about five months and now it is lying at the bottom of our water,” they said.

Several attempts to talk to the National Maritime Safety Authority in Port Moresby on who owned the vessel and why it berthed there for five months was unsuccessful.