28 Nov 2012

PNG's Lutheran Shipping stands firm in face of piracy

7:48 pm on 28 November 2012

Lutheran Shipping in Papua New Guinea says it will not be curbing services despite a raid by pirates off the north coast.

A passenger ferry, MV Geyam-Sao, was held up between Finschhafen and Lae in Morobe on Tuesday.

The pirates are believed to have boarded the vessel as passengers before producing weapons two hours into the voyage.

They forced about 160 passengers and crew to lie face down on a deck, while they raided valuables and the ship's takings, before departing on two banana boats.

The company's acting chief executive, Tonessi Ewebi, says it is the first such incident for the company.

Lutheran is the main provider of shipping services on PNG's north coast and Mr Ewebi says services will be maintained.

"This is during the peak periods, Christmas and New Year. We will not be doing anything against providing services, just a matter of being more alert and increasing security on board ships."