21 May 2010

PNG shipping accident toll lowered

2:20 pm on 21 May 2010

Provincial disaster officials in Papua New Guinea's Madang province say the death toll from a boat accident off the Rai Coast this week is not as high as earlier feared.

One person has been confirmed dead while 57 people are accounted for from the MV Nara, which had a capacity for 30 passengers but capsized while overloaded with at least 60 people and too much cargo.

The Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet relayed the latest advice from disaster officials:

"Not sure exactly on the number still missing because the number actually on board has not been able to be confirmed. But it's something in the order of 60 plus, they estimate. So it could be any number up to ten, more or less, that's the kind of order of numbers that might still be missing in the waters."

Sir Arnold says his administration will look to improve the compliance of district vessel operators with passenger and cargo limits.

He says policing the compliance at various ports is an option.