26 Apr 2012

PNG probe hears Rabaul Queen allowed to carry 350 people

12:42 pm on 26 April 2012

A branch manager for Rabaul Shipping in Papua New Guinea says staff were told the maximum number of passengers allowed on the Rabaul Queen was 350.

The Commission of Inquiry into the ship's sinking has previously heard that the ship was surveyed to carry 295 passengers and up to 15 crew.

Megan Whelan has more.

"The company owner, Peter Sharp, told the inquiry this week he thought the ship was carrying 381 people as well as children under the age of 3, though he admits to some doubt over this figure. Other reports have said the vessel was carrying many more people. The Kimbe manager for the company, Grace Amen, says staff were given a yearly memo saying the maximum number for the Rabaul Queen was 300, but that Mr Sharp told her they could go up to 350. She told the inquiry the Rabaul Queen would often carry up to 360 passengers in peak periods."