24 Feb 2012

Logistics an issue in PNG ferry sinking inquiry

12:49 pm on 24 February 2012

A lawyer assisting with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into a Papua New Guinea ferry sinking feared to have killed up to 300 people says logistical issues must be resolved before hearings can begin.

The MV Rabaul Queen sank in heavy seas off the Morobe coast on February the 2nd and official estimates of lives lost in the disaster have ranged from about 100 to about 300.

The inquiry will be headed by Justice Warwick Andrew, who also presided over the hearing into the Princess Ashika sinking in Tonga.

The lawyer Manuel Varitimos also assisted on that inquiry and he says the PNG investigation will follow the same format.

Mr Varitimos says hearings will be held in Port Moresby, Lae, Kimbe, Kokopo and Buka but there are some logistical issues to resolve in terms of the remoteness of some of those places.

He says dates for the hearings haven't been set but a notice will be sent out before they begin.