Solomons Shipping Company Denies Ferry Under Detention

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Police allegedly came to see captain, but left and never returned

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 24, 2013) – The management of the ill-fated MV Francis-Gerena has denied reports that the captain of the boat had defied orders from sailing last Wednesday in Solomon Islands.

Jack Kii on behalf of HP Shipping said there was no detention order issued to the captain of the vessel on last week before the boat sailed.

He claimed on the night of Tuesday, two police officers called in at the wharf where the vessel was berthing and asked to see the captain.

"However, they (police) were told that the captain had not yet arrived. The officers then told the crews that they would return to see the captain, however, they never returned back to see the captain that night."

Mr Kii said the captain was not informed or made aware any such detention order.

"So the management of HP Shipping service therefore categorically denied the claim that the captain of MV Francis-Gerena had disobeyed or defied the order is not at all true."

Mr Kii pointed out if there was an order issued by SIMSA to detain the vessel, the captain should be properly informed and he would have adhered to this order.

"If I may kindly ask Acting Director Tim Harrison this question, did he actually issue a detention order for the vessel to be detained overnight and had actually ordered her to berth at Patrol Boat Base at Aola Bay?

"Or was it just a word sent through the two police officers on beat to ask the captain of MV Francis-Gerena if he could sail to Aola Bay for checking of tickets and to ensure the maximum number of passengers required to travel is complied with before sailing out?

"In the alternative, if it was truly a detention order, the marine officers would have pinned the order on the mast of the vessel, as practiced in any jurisdiction as a matter of global maritime policy."

The HP Shipping spokesperson said a number of reports being stated in the media report over the past days are not true and clarified them.

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