12 Sep 2013

Total of seven charged over PNG's Rabaul Queen disaster

7:32 pm on 12 September 2013

A total of seven people have now been charged in connection with the Rabaul Queen disaster in Papua New Guinea on the 2nd of February last year.

The National newspaper reports police saying this completes the arrests of those implicated in the country's worst maritime incident in which at least 162 people died.

The seven charged include 3 officers from the National Maritime Safety Authority, who had allegedly failed to play their part and were complacent for too long, resulting in the tragedy.

The owner and employees of Rabaul Shipping were charged for not adhering to weather reports from the National Weather Service and making sure the ferry was not overloaded.

The police team is now in Lae in Morobe, preparing and filing court papers for the seven defendants with court proceedings to start in two weeks.

The owner of the company captain Peter Sharp faces 162 counts of manslaughter and sending an unseaworthy vessel to sea.

The government's commission of inquiry into the disaster found the Rabaul Queen was unseaworthy, unsafe, overloaded and should never have departed on its final voyage.