13 Apr 2012

PNG ferry inquiry hears ship's manifest "hopelessly deficient"

10:01 am on 13 April 2012

The owner of the MV Rabaul Queen, which sank in Papua New Guinea in February, has admitted the ship's passenger manifest was grossly inadequate.

Peter Sharp has been testifying to the Commission of Inquiry into the ferry sinking, which occured off the coast of Morobe province killing an estimated 220 people.

Beverley Tse reports.

"Mr Sharp agreed with the Counsel assisting the the Commissioner, Manuel Varitimos when he suggested that the manifest was hopelessly deficient, as an instrument to identify those who may have been on the vessel when it sank. He told Mr Varitimos that the ship should have been suitable to run on the voyage it was operating on when it sank. Mr Sharp told the Commission the same ship had conducted a weekly service in the same area for 10 or 11 years. He said the ship had about 376 passengers and crew members onboard at the time of the sinking but the vessel was only authorised to carry a maximum of 310 people."