14 Oct 2010

PNG's New Ireland police fear for lives in piracy fight

2:10 pm on 14 October 2010

Provincial police in Papua New Guinea's New Ireland say their lives are at risk as they tackle a growing number of piracy incidents on their high seas.

The acting police commander says the piracy problem has risen over the past couple of years to about five incidents a week.

Chief Inspector John Duadak says although police are armed, they have only one dinghy with which to pursue pirates, whom he says are equipped with high powered guns and the latest technology such as GPS.

He says the police urgently need new and faster boats as well as other equipment.

"Like binoculars and GPS and some of those things, we don't have them here. We can just get the weapons, get on the boat and we go but it's a little bit risky as well. There are incidents where there's cross fire, police and criminals started shooting each other on the sea so those are some of the things we are scared of. So actually what we do here is as soon as we get them we try to get them to the land. Block them off so they go to the shore and we get them on the land."

Chief Inspector John Duadak says pirates have stolen a police vessel and are also targeting boats taking tourists diving.