8 Mar 2011

PNG governor promises action after overcrowded boat capsizes

8:07 pm on 8 March 2011

The Governor of a PNG province where dozens were rescued from a capsized boat says it is everyone's responsibility to stop the overloading of vessels.

The MV Goodenough was travelling from Kiriwana Island in Milne Bay province when it was rolled by a wave and overturned, leaving its passengers to cling to the hull overnight before they were found and rescued on Sunday.

The provincial disaster coordinator says the vessel was overloaded with at least 48 people on board a boat which was supposed to carry 30 passengers.

Milne Bay Governor John Luke Crittin says he's heard more than sixty people were rescued from the boat, which is owned by the district government.

He says an investigation will be carried out, but the blame must be shared.

"The captain should have never sailed with the boat but he was threatened, people say go, don't stay. So the captain is one. The administration should never allow them to do that. The charter, which was part of the European Union's delivery of schoolbooks should never allow that to carry passengers, and the people themselves. They knew they were overloading the boat."

Milne Bay Governor John Luke Crittin says overloading is a common problem in the islands.