14 Mar 2012

Grieving relatives continue to hold up ships in PNG's Bougainville

4:35 pm on 14 March 2012

Three ships are still being occupied in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville by grieving relatives of those who died in the sinking of the Rabaul Queen nearly six weeks ago.

Inspector Cletus Tsien says most people have gone home, but there are still about 20 people stopping the vessels leaving, which belong to the owners of the Rabaul Queen.

The Buka police commander says the families wanted 300,000 kina from the owners as compensation but the company came up with an offer of 100,000.

Mr Tsien says the occupation is starting to affect some businesses.

"The harbour's board people threatened to close down the wharf. Also the services that are rendered to the business people in Buka like one of the ships is specialised in ferrying fuel from Rabaul to Bougainville so the committee is negotiating with these people to maybe let this ship go."

Cletus Tsien says Bougainville MP Cosmas Sohia is leading negotiations with the ship occupiers.