22 Jul 2011

Likely that banana boat missing in PNG waters overloaded

1:08 pm on 22 July 2011

The acting director of the disaster management office in the Papua New Guinea province of Morobe says it's possible a missing banana boat carrying nine people may have drifted off course.

Charlie Masange says the boat left Siassi Island on July the 13th bound for Sagsag in West New Britain,a journey that usually takes two to three hours.

But Mr Masange says on the day the group of six men and two women from West New Britain and one man from Siassi island set off, the sea was extremely rough.

"So that could be a problem or else according to the reports they did have on board with them a drum full of zoom [engine fuel] and also some store goods and also about nine people on board so that means they must have overloaded themselves."

Charlie Masange says the authorities in Manus, West New Britain and Madang have all been alerted and a search for the missing vessel is continuing.