21 May 2010

PNG governor urges compliance after Rai shipping accident

4:21 pm on 21 May 2010

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Madang province says district vessel operators must comply with passenger and cargo limits after this week's fatal capsizing of a boat off the Rai Coast.

One person is confirmed dead with 57 people 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.

It remains unclear how many more people are missing but disaster officials estimate it could be up to ten.

Local media reports say the crew of the vessel were pressured to take on more passengers.

The Governor, Sir Arnold Amet, says better co-operation is needed from the vessel operators.

"Who do succumb to people pressure to overload the boats. I've seen them on the water myself. So the message will be 'all operators, please now co-operate, limit the numbers to what is safe numbers for your vessels.' And we can police it at different ports, the government officials to go and ensure that the safe number of people are actually getting on board."

Sir Arnold Amet