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By Tom Kathoa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 10) - A cruis ship bound for Papua New Guinea cancelled its visit last week because of "bad and irresponsible" media reports about security risks in the country, according to a local tour operator.

East New Britain tour operator Meli Paivu said the Pacific Princess cancelled a direct visit from Guam to Rabaul last Friday.

The ship was carrying 700 tourists.

Paivu said the captain of the Pacific Princess cited reports of the boarding and robbery of MV Huris in East New Britain as the reason for his cancellation.

Paivu claimed the media has blown the incident out of proportion.

He said he tried his best to convince the ship’s captain that the situation was not as bad and even assured him of full police presence at the wharf to protect the tourists but the captain stood his ground.

Paivu told The National that arrangements were made with police to escort tourists while they were in the province.

He challenged journalists to report facts and not to sensationalize the situation, saying the problem aboard the MV Huris was not as bad as in other countries.

Paivu has apologized to PMV owners, tour guides and owners of tour sites and those involved in the tourism industry for their efforts in preparing for the tour.

He said the province; its people and its craftsmen have lost the opportunity to make money from these tourists.

The Pacific Princess went to Honiara in the Solomon Islands before traveling to other places.

August 11, 2004

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