Home' Work Boat World : September 2010 Contents From: PR Sharp, Master Mariner,
MNI, Papua New Guinea
I am advised that at approximately
3am on Saturday June 26, 2010 in the
vicinity of Watom Island, New Britain
Province, Papua New Guinea, the newly
built landing craft 'Marunga' capsized.
The weather in the area had been mild.
The vessel is at Karavia upside down.
Some questions have to be answered.
Why weren't shipping companies in Rabaul
advised of the accident so they could have
Pacific Towing has a tug on standby at
the Rabaul wharf.
Island Shipping has a tug at the old
Rabaul Shipping had four fast ferries
and one cargo ship in Rabaul that could
have been activated within an hour to
reach the upturned vessel within two
hours of leaving Rabaul Harbour.
1. Was the EPIRB activated?
2. If not, why not?
3. Was there an EPIRB on board?
4. If so, was the signal received by
Canberra or Port Moresby?
5. If so, why didn't NMSA alert shipping
companies in Rabaul?
Why did the vessel turn over?
Was the vessel actually seaworthy?
The Agmark barge, a similar newly built
vessel built in the same area, underwent a
four month upgrade on arrival in Rabaul
because of the atrocious state of the new
vessel on its arrival in Rabaul. The survey
on the Agmark vessel was conducted by a
competent engineer who was the manager
of Toboi Dockyard.
Who did the initial survey of the
'Marunga' when she arrived in Papua
Was that surveyor a competent person
or just someone who has a certificate issued
by the NMSA? Perhaps there is some
suggestion of corruption in this.
If competent, what is the basis of
that competency? A Master's Certificate
from an Eastern European country is
surely not sufficient?
Was there sufficient stability information
on board competently checked by a
Was the crew instructed in the working
of the stability information?
Was the shipowner a competent owner?
What is the basis of that competency?
It is assumed that there will be an
inquiry. If not, why not?
If there is to be an inquiry it is essential
that the inquiry is conducted by a
competent and independent person. My
suggestion is not some imposter claiming
to have a Master's Certificate but someone
with real competency.
In my opinion that competency is to
be found in a Classification Society
The importance of getting this inquiry
correct is that there are a number of
similar vessels recently brought into the
country. Mainly for the various local
government agencies. Three for Border
Protection based in Madang and Wewak.
One for the member in Milne Bay, one in
Kimbe and, I believe, more on the way.
Did the vessel have a Trading Licence?
As an important extension of the
above disaster I believe that a survey
must also be conducted of the landing
craft type vessel brought in from Korea
by the Western Province, the 'Bob
Danaya' of Sepik, the 'Sidi' of New Britain
and New Ireland and the 'Vanmark Toby'
to determine if these vessels were
also surveyed by so called surveyors who
do or did not have the engineering
competency to do the survey competently
Finally, what happened to the East
New Britain Disaster Committee? Or were
they the ones who organised for a tow to
be conducted by an old wooden dive boat
when there were at least half a dozen steel
commercial vessels available that would
have been more efficient?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
PO Box 482, South Melbourne DC 3205, Australia
135 Sturt Street, Southbank,
Melbourne 3006, Australia
FX: +61 3 9645 0475
The capsizing of 'Marunga' leaves many serious questions in its wake
September 2010 WORK BOAT WORLD
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