PNG MP mystified by dropping of Rabaul Queen charges

2:27 pm on 29 October 2018

A Bougainville MP says he can't believe the public prosecutor has decided not to pursue charges against the people charged over the Rabaul Queen disaster.

The Rabaul Queen

The Rabaul Queen Photo: Supplied

The Papua New Guinea inter-island ship sank off the coast of Morobe nearly seven years ago with 172 people drowning.

It was revealed last week the public prosecutor has decided not to pursue the remaining charges brought against the ship's owner, Peter Sharp, the master of the vessel, Anthony Tsiau, and Grace Amen, a company official.

Many of the dead on the vessel were students from Bougainville and Bougainville South MP, Tim Masiu, said he was surprised the public prosecutor has shut up shop.

"There are people from my electorate in South Bougainville and we lost some lives due to that disaster. I have also been following with interest the court proceedings and I am surprised to learn that the prosecutor is not going to proceed due to some reasons, and I just don't feel good about this."

The trio had been charged with sending an unseaworthy vessel to sea, or taking an unseaworthy vessel to sea.

In July last year Mr Sharp and Mr Tsiau were both acquitted of manslaughter charges.

The National newspaper has quoted senior police officer, Benjamin Turi, who said the prosecution was incorrectly handled. He said the unseaworthy charges should have been laid first and this would have given police the basis for manslaughter charge.

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