PNG Maritime Safety Authority Reveals Lack Of Qualified Staff

admin's picture

Authority commends working staff, but more surveyors needed

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 23, 2012) – There are only five qualified surveyors employed by the Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA), and it will take time to recruit and train new surveyors.

The MV Rabaul Queen, owned and operated by Rabaul Shipping, sank on Feb 2 and more than 100 passengers perished in waters nine nautical miles off Finschhafen in Morobe province.

NMSA senior surveyor and marine manager Cyril Mudalige told the commission that 10 more surveyors were needed.

NMSA has offices in Lae, Kimbe, Alotau and Rabaul and each office had only one officer who also surveyed shipping vessels that berth at their wharves.

However, NMSA does not have any jurisdiction over the wharf at Rabaul.

Mudalige told the commission that NMSA needed more surveyors as they were under-staffed and could not do their job properly.

But despite the current shortage, the surveyors still performed well, he added.

Mudalige said the lack of proper training and the current economic situation were two main factors that contributed to the shortage or surveyors.

Counsel for the commission, Mal Varitimos, suggested that private companies were also the other reason because they offered good remuneration packages that attracted NMSA surveyors.

Mudalige said it was a very sad that their staff went to other companies in the last couple of years since the establishment of the NMSA.

Varitimos suggested that if there was a great drop in numbers of surveyors employed by NMSA, there would be a drop also in the quality of work they produced.

Mudalige agreed but maintained that his surveyors were properly qualified and had the proper equipment at hand to carry out their work.

He told the Commission of Inquiry that he was aware of his surveyors checking passenger loading.

Mudlige said NMSA surveyors should check loading of passengers but added that it would be impossible for his surveyors to survey all 700 registered ships in the country.

He said it was very inconvenient for his surveyors to do all the work besides regulate and monitor passengers.

Mudalige suggested to the commission that checking the loading of passengers must be done separately by some other organization or people.

He said if this was done, then NMSA surveyors would concentrate better on carrying out their duties effectively.

Varitimos told Mudalige if he knew that the captain of the MV Rabaul Queen was also the same captain involved in the sinking of two other vessels.

"I only came to know the captain when the vessel sank…I could not find (if) his certificates had been updated.

"I did not know two ships sank under him and I expected (Rabaul Shipping owner) Peter Sharp to not employ people like that captain."

Told by Varitimos that NMSA did not carry out some inspections on Rabaul Shpping vessels Solomon Queen and Rabaul Queen, Mudalige replied that Sharp often complained that NMSA was "targeting foreigners" and even took out legal proceedings against the authority.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment