12 Jun 2013

Bougainville joint venture ferry in service early next year

1:37 pm on 12 June 2013

The loss of the inter island ferry service when the Rabaul Queen sank last year has prompted the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville to have its own vessel built.

At least 141 people, including dozens of Bougainvillean students, died in the disaster.

The Bougainville president, John Momis, says the province needs an appropriate form of transport as air travel is too expensive for many people.

He says his government is in a joint venture with a Port Moresby businessman, which is having a vessel built in China.

Mr Momis says the new ferry should be in service early next year.

He says it will carry 370 passengers and comply with the new, more stringent maritime laws.

"It will be a much more robust boat and the other thing is that the ship, the manager, the captain , the crew will be required to adhere to quite stringent requirements of the regulations, which should assist the crew and the passengers in the case of an accident."

Bougainville president John Momis.