29 Feb 2012

PNG shipping disaster inquiry waiting on govt funding before it can start

9:41 pm on 29 February 2012

The Papua New Guinea Government is yet to allocate funding to pay for the commission of inquiry into the sinking of the interisland ferry, MV Rabaul Queen.

The ship sank on the 2nd of February with latest estimates putting the death toll as high as 321, but officials say they are not yet in a position to make an official announcement on the number of victims.

Plans for an inquiry were announced within days of the sinking with Justice Warwick Andrew appointed as chair.

The Commission of Inquiry and Investigation unit is tasked with setting it up and they have calculated about six million US dollars is needed to pay for it.

The unit's head, Mathew Yuangu, says that estimate has been submitted to the Prime Minister's Office for approval.

"It is pending a Cabinet decision at the moment, so as soon as that is done we will have the funds identified and allocated to get the Commission into operation, yes."

Mathew Yuangu of the PNG Commission of Inquiry and Investigation