3 Feb 2012

Safety record of PNG ship company under spotlight

2:08 pm on 3 February 2012

The safety record of a Papua New Guinea shipping company is being questioned following a ferry sinking off the coast of PNG yesterday morning.

About 360 people were on board and 238 survivors have so far been rescued thanks to a number of ocean liners that were in the vicinity.

More than 100 people, mostly tertiary students, are believed to be missing.

The Rabaul Queen, owned by the Rabaul Shipping Company, sank between Kimbe on the island of New Britain, and the mainland city of Lae.

Our correspondent Oseah Philemon says the company does not have a clean track record.

"I understand they did have some difficulties in the past with their ships but I think that is something that the government will have to look at because now we do have confirmed deaths then that's got to be subject to a coronary inquiry of sorts so that they determine the exact cause of this accident. It's one of the worst if not the worst in Papua New Guinea's history."

Oseah Philemon says relatives of those still missing are fearing the worst.