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Ferry sinks off Papua New Guinea with 350 aboard

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ECOCTA, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. E

    ECOCTA Member

    Feb 2, 2012
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    PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea: Rescuers have plucked more than 200survivors from the sea off Papua New Guinea's east coast after a ferry sankThursday with as many as 350 people on board, officials said. An airplane fromAustralia, three helicopters and eight ships were scouring the search areaafter the MV Rabaul Queen went down while traveling from Kimbe on the island ofNew Britain to coastal town of Lae on the main island, Australian MaritimeSafety Authority said in a statement.
    Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the incident a "majortragedy" and said her country was providing assistance to its nearneighbor. "Given the likely veryhigh loss of life here, I think when this news comes to the attention ofAustralians around the country they will be thinking about the people of PNG asthey respond to this tragedy," she added.

    The Australian maritime agency initially detected the ferry's distressbeacon and alerted the PNG Maritime Rescue Coordination Center, which iscoordinating the rescue effort. The Australian statement said 219 survivors hadbeen recovered by five ships by late Thursday. It said 350 people were believedto be on board, but Papua New Guinea's National Maritime Safety Authority(NMSA) rescue co-ordinator Captain Nurur Rahman said the true figure was likelylower. "I cannot confirm or deny the 350 missing number. It ishearsay," Rahman said. "I have not seen the manifest as yet, but itis likely around 300." Rahman said he was being fed information from anNMSA agent on board one of the ships. "The dynamics of this thing arechanging all the time, minute by minute," he said. Ship operator StarShips could not be immediately contacted for comment.

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