6 Nov 2013

PNG police add more manslaugter charges over Rabaul Queen disaster

7:00 am on 6 November 2013

Papua New Guinea police say Captain Peter Sharp and six others implicated in the MV Rabaul Queen disaster will face 173 manslaughter charges instead of the original 162.

The ferry, which sank in February 2012, was the country's worst maritime incident.

The head of the police investigation team into the disaster, Chief Inspector Ben Turi, says they revised the casualty figures upwards based on witness statements collected in the past three months.

The six are Captain Anthony Tsiau, chief mate Michael Zirau, Kimbe branch port manager Grace Amen, Joseph Kabiu, the Rabaul manager of the NMSA or National Maritime Safety Authority, NMSA's Kimbe manager Michael Benjamin Livinai and NMSA's Madang manager, Carl Kamau.

The National newspaper reports they were charged by police in August.

Inspector Turi says police had filed the 11 extra counts with the Kokopo court.

The seven are on a 1,900 US dollar bail each.

Mr Sharp, the owner of the Rabaul Shipping company, will appear for mention on next Thursday 14 in Kokopo with Captain Tsiau, Michael Zirau, Grace Amen and Joseph Kabiu.

Carl Kamau will appear before the Madang district court on the 28th of this month.

Michael Benjamin Livinai appeared in the Kimbe district court yesterday.

Captain Sharp is facing 173 counts of manslaughter and for sending an unseaworthy vessel out to sea.

Captain Tsiau, from Nissan Island in Autonomous Region of Bougainville and Michael Zirau from Manam Island in Madang face 173 manslaughter charges and for taking an unseaworthy vessel out to sea.

Grace Amen from Duke of York, Michael Benjamin Livinai from Misima in Milne Bay, Joseph Kabiu from Rabaul, East New Britain, and Carl Kamau from Turubu in East Sepik face 173 manslaughter charges.