30 May 2012

PNG ferry owner maintains sinking was act of God

12:50 pm on 30 May 2012

The owner of the Rabaul Queen continues to maintain that the ship's sinking in Papua New Guinea was an act of God.

The Commission of Inquiry into the sinking, in which more than 200 people are thought to have died, is in its seventh week of testimony.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The Commission has heard accusations of overcrowding, incompetence and dangerous and unsafe behaviour. The lawyer assisting the Commission, Manuel Varitimos, asked Captain Peter Sharp if, after considerable reflection on the tragedy, he accepts any responsibility. Captain Sharp replied he bears no responsibility at all, and maintains that the sinking was an act of God. He told the Commission that all he has learned from the disaster is that people tell lies. In what was a heated session, with Mr Varitimos being accused of badgering the witness, Captain Sharp denied it was his own arrogance that led in part to the tragedy."