20 Aug 2013

Owner of PNG ferry disaster vessel questioned by police

5:43 pm on 20 August 2013

The operator of the Rabaul Queen, the inter island ferry that sank off the north coast of the Papua New Guinea mainland more than 19 months ago, is being questioned by police today.

The Rabaul Queen disaster claimed at least 141 lives.

A commission of inquiry was completed nearly a year ago but no one has been charged over the sinking.

However the commission was highly critical of the owner Peter Sharp for showing gross disrespect by having passengers travel in appalling and inhumane conditions.

It said the ferry was unseaworthy, overloaded and should not have been sailing at the time.

Mr Sharp, whose company had been operating 20 coastal vessels at the time of the disaster, has always maintained he had done nothing wrong.

A lengthy police inquiry was conducted earlier this year but before today no action had been taken.

Mr Sharp was taken to the Kokopo police station where he has been questioned for several hours.

There is no indication yet whether he will face charges.