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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 20) –Some 13 people are missing in rough waters off Papua New Guinea after the 23-foot banana boat they were in sank.

The group was on a trip from Namatanai to Lihir Island when the mishap occurred.

Only one survivor, the operator of the ill-fated boat, was able to swim ashore on Tanga Island.

Bad weather causing rough seas in the waters of the New Guinea Islands Region is reported to be causing havoc for seafarers in the region.

Reports from Lorengau in the Manus province said 20 people on a road trip between Wuvulu and Aua Islands between the East Sepik and Manus Provinces have also gone missing.

The 23-foot banana boat with 20 people, including four women, on board left Wuvulu Island for Aua Island on Sunday but failed to arrive at their destination.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Alex N'Drasal confirmed receiving report of the missing people and has dispatched two of his men to the area to help in the search.

District Administrator for Namatanai in New Ireland province, Ereman Bulumaris said his office has not received any new information about the missing people.

Mr Bulumaris said communications problems on the island are hampering efforts, but the search is continuing.

Meanwhile, Manus police are also investigating the illegal boarding of a fishing boat belonging to a fish cannery company by some youths from Rambutso Island.

Mr N’Drasal said the youths were commanded by a councilor who urged them to board the fishing boat. They allegedly stole CD players, TV screen, telescope, cassettes tapes and other items worth K2800.

Provincial Administrator Wep Kanawi has been notified of the incidents and was asked to help convince the culprits to surrender to police for questioning.

He said police would also like to speak to the councillor concerned.

January 21, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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