20 Apr 2012

Allegations against Rabaul Queen captain

7:29 am on 20 April 2012

An official with Papua New Guinea's maritime safety authority has alleged the captain of the Rabaul Queen had been involved in two previous sinkings.

The vessel sank near Finschafen on February the 2nd, with current estimates that around 220 people lost their lives, while 237 were rescued.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The officer in charge of the NMSA office in Lae, Rony Naigu, told the Commission of Inquiry into the sinking that he had known the Rabaul Queen's captain, and believed this was the third sinking under his command. Mr Naigu said he believes the Rabaul Queen could have been saved if the Authority, had been alerted to the past issues of the captain. He says with the experience and knowledge of the captain, more attention should have been paid to the weather, so extra precautions could be taken. Another NMSA official, a surveyor, Karl Kamang, told the Commission the maintanence regime on the ship was poor."