Four Years After PNG Ferry Sinking, Memorial Unveiled

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

MV Rabaul Queen tragedy remembered in Kimbe

By Nicole Joannes

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 3, 2016) – A memorial monument has been unveiled in Kimbe, West New Britain Province, to mark the fourth anniversary of the MV Rabaul Queen tragedy.

The monument, with names of Kimbe passengers who perished and those who survived, was unveiled yesterday by Governor Sasindran Muthuvel. It was built by one of the survivors Alphonse Liato at the main Kimbe passenger port. The project was funded by the provincial government.

Of 151 passengers who boarded the ill-fated ship in Kimbe and 80 survived while 71 perished in the country’s major sea disaster on February 2, 2012.

"We remember our people from WNB who in quest for knowledge went to attend schools and perished in the disaster," Mr Muthuvel said at the unveiling.

"That shows the strong reality that life is not permanent," he added.

He said life is a gift from God, the master creator, and "we must value our life because life goes on."

Governor Muthuvel said it is the provincial government’s desire and inspiration to provide educational intuitions in the province so that students will not have to cross the seas in search for them. He said the province has its technical college and the new nursing college would be opened soon for new intakes while the Tafe College is expected to be opened within two months so that West New Britain youths do not have to travel to other provinces to seek further education.

Governor Muthuvel, provincial administrator Williamson Hosea and other local dignitaries were among the families of the fallen who placed wreaths at the new monument.

MV Rabaul Queen owner Peter Sharp and three maritime officers will stand trial in the National Court in April, charged with criminal negligence, manslaughter and sending an unworthy ship to sea which resulted in the death of 171 passengers when the overloaded vessel sank in Morobe provincial waters.

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