17 Jul 2014

Calls for better maritime safety in Vanuatu

7:34 pm on 17 July 2014

The Vanuatu National Council of Women says the practice of lumping together passengers, cargo, and animals on vessels must stop.

The executive director Leas Cullwick says the government must improve the safety of sea transportation in light of last week's ferry sinking.

The sinking of the barge, the MGY, resulted in the deaths of two mothers, a child, and a crew member, after it sunk in the North of Efate Island.

The owner and both its captains have been charged with manslaughter.

Police say the ferry's capacity was 30 people but it was overloaded with 41 passengers and crew and was not seaworthy.

Leas Cullwick says a law should be introduced which would mean ferries could no longer transport people and cargo at the same time.

"The government must seriously look at the ships that are doing service in the country, everyone is grouped together in one ship, the cargo, and the people, and the animals, and this has got to come to a stop."

Leas Cullwick says Ports and Marine harbour officials also need to comply with any laws that are in place.