15 Feb 2012

Bougainville to get modern ferry after PNG shipping disaster

2:35 pm on 15 February 2012

The autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is in the process of getting a modern inter-island passenger ferry.

Two weeks ago, the Rabaul Queen sank off Morobe, with dozens of Bougainvilleans, many of them students, among the estimated 183 that died.

The shipping company involved has been criticised for overloading a vessel that was inappropriate for the use being made of it.

A major inquiry is to be conducted but the president, John Momis, says the provincial and national governments also need to take some responsibility.

Mr Momis says the disaster is a wake-up call.

"It's time that we took measures to listen to the people and do something in accordance with the priorities of the people. I say this in all honesty we have to start listening to the people to build co-educational institutions, to improve our shipping. In fact before the ship sank, when I became President I already made moves to get a new boat - a good, modern passenger boat - and we are now in the process of getting one."

Bougainville President John Momis.