8 Jun 2012

PNG Rabaul Shipping Company shuts down, jobs lost

2:49 pm on 8 June 2012

There are reports from Papua New Guinea that the owner of the company which ran the ill-fated Rabaul Queen ferry, Peter Sharp, has shut the business down, putting hundreds of employees out of work.

The ship sank in February with estimates that more than 140 people died.

The Rabaul Shipping company included 20 vessels apart from the Rabaul Queen, but three were destroyed by armed ex-militants in Buka soon after the disaster.

The newspaper, The National, reports the company has had to withdraw staff from its offices in Kimbe and Buka for safety reasons.

The lawyer for company principal, Erik Andersen, told the commission of inquiry into the disaster that the Rabaul office had shut and that the Kimbe office has not been running since the sinking.

And while an ex-employee says the company has told them there is no money to pay them, a current staffer told the newspaper that it was still operating.