23 Apr 2012

PNG Rabaul Queen inquiry told captains can not do jobs

8:07 am on 23 April 2012

A former chief officer of the Rabaul Queen has told the inquiry into its sinking in Papua New Guinea that incentives paid to the ship's crew stopped them from doing their job.

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

Pastor Paul Daniels, who is now the chaplain of Lutheran Shipping, says when he was the chief officer on the Rabaul Queen in January last year, it was listing to the left.

He told the inquiry he didn't know if the ship had been fixed before the sinking, but alleged that maintancence was never done properly by the company, Rabaul Shipping.

Pastor Daniels says the company's owner, Peter Sharp, pays a high incentive to captains to sail.

He says that means the masters cannot respond to Mr Sharp in regard to the safety of the ship and the safety and welfare of the crew.