15 Feb 2012

PNG to ban ships more than five years old in wake of ferry disaster

8:20 am on 15 February 2012

The Papua New Guinea government will introduce legislation banning the import of ships and motor vehicles more than five years old and impose heavy taxes in an effort to clean up the nation's transport industry after the MV Rabaul Queen ferry disaster.

In parliament this week the Transport Minister Francis Awesa said he had instructed his department to look at imposing a 1000 per cent tax on any imported vehicle more than five years old.

He said any ship more than five years old should not be brought in and said PNG was being used as a dumping ground.

Mr Awesa said he also wanted to break the dominance of four shipowners in PNG, of which the owner of the MV Rabaul Queen, is one.

He said some passenger ships in PNG are not designed for ferrying people on long distance trips.

The cost of importing vehicles in PNG, which has no motor industry of its own, is already huge.

Import tariffs currently add between 10 per cent to 110 per cent to the cost of a second-hand car or four-wheel drive.