24 May 2006

PNG plans to stop export of US war relic

7:47 pm on 24 May 2006

The Papua New Guinea government has told relevant government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Commission, to prevent the shipment of a war relic, a Second World War fighter aircraft, to the United States.

The newspaper, The National, says the acting Prime Minister, Sir Moi Avei, announced on Tuesday that the government would review the decision by the National Museum and Art Gallery board of trustees to approve the shipment of the B-17 E Boeing bomber, dubbed the swamp ghost to the US.

Sir Moi says he was shocked to learn that the war relic would be shipped out of Popondetta, where it had been resting in the Agaiembo Lake since 1942.

He says he was surprised that such an important matter had not been brought to the attention of the national executive council well before the salvage operation was granted approval.

Sir Moi says he has told the Minister for Culture and Tourism David Basua to use whatever powers available to suspend the shipment of the aircraft, until the issue has been considered in full by the government.