Archive for 02/03/2012

Jakarta Globe –

Rescuers battling big waves and strong winds have pulled nearly 250 people from the sea off Papua New Guinea’s east coast after a ferry sank.

More than 110 people remained missing Friday. Crews in ships, planes and helicopters continued to scour the warm seas.

Papua New Guinea’s National Maritime Safety Authority rescue coordinator Capt. Nurur Rahman said he had not given up hope of finding more survivors, though the swell and winds were rising and some victims may have been trapped inside the sunken ferry.

“I do not presume them to be dead yet,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Owners of MV Rabaul Queen, Papua New Guinea-based Rabaul Shipping Company, said Friday there had been 350 passengers and 12 crew aboard the 22-year-old Japanese-built ferry when it went down Thursday morning while traveling from Kimbe on the island of New Britain to the coastal city of Lae on the main island.

A police official said most of those aboard were students.

“We are stunned and utterly devastated by what has happened,” managing director Peter Sharp said in a statement.

The company said the cause of the disaster remained unclear, but National Weather Service chief Sam Maiha told Papua New Guinea’s Post-Courier newspaper that shipping agencies had been warned to keep ships moored this week because of strong winds. An official at the scene told the newspaper that the ferry capsized in rough seas and sank four hours later.

By nightfall Thursday, 246 survivors had been rescued by merchant ships battling 5-meter swells and 75 kph winds at the disaster scene 80 kilometers east of Lae and 16 kilometers from shore, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Full story…

Maritime Journal –

The UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a confirmed grant of just under £1m to the SS Robin Trust on Tuesday, enabling the world’s oldest complete steamship to re-open to the public.

Floating above the water on a purpose built pontoon and the only ship to be displayed this way in the world, SS Robin returned home to its London birthplace last summer after a three year restoration programme.

The HLF award will now see the final touches put in place to return this exceptional vessel to its former glory and create a new cultural landmark for London. A Visitor Centre will be housed within the pontoon, and an exciting programme of activities, events, training and volunteering opportunities kick-started for people of all ages.

One of only three National Historic Ships ‘Core Collection’ vessels based in London, alongside Cutty Sark and HMS Belfast, SS Robin is a coastal cargo steamer and one of 1,500 originally built between 1840 and 1956 at the renowned Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Company on the River Lea.

Being of international significance and the only surviving example of her type, it represents a pivotal moment in the history of industrialisation, engineering and technological development.

The yard in which she was created was at the centre of engineering excellence in shipbuilding, having produced such fine examples as HMS Warrior and Yavari among others.

Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said, “SS Robin, to be moored in the Royal Victoria Docks, will serve as a living reminder of the capital’s seafaring roots, history and traditions in an ever changing landscape regenerated for London’s Olympic year.

Visitors will also be able to gain a fascinating insight into the ships’ past dating back to 1890 as her archive and collections of some 4,000 items including original documents, maps, plans, and navigation tools are made publicly accessible for the first time.”

Full story…


From Jakarta Globe –

Rescuers scoured the ocean for more than 100 people, many of them believed to be university students, still missing Friday after a ferry sank in the Pacific off Papua New Guinea.

So far, 238 survivors have been plucked to safety in a joint rescue operation conducted by PNG and neighboring Australia after the MV Rabaul Queen sank on Thursday morning.

Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the ship went down about nine nautical miles (16 kilometres) off the coast and the survivors reached the eastern town of Lae in the early hours of Friday morning.

“Five vessels, with a total of 238 survivors on board, proceeded to Lae last night, with the first vessel arriving shortly after 1:00am (1300 GMT Thursday),” AMSA said.

“The passengers are being transferred to Lae by the port’s tug, under the coordination of PNG authorities.”

It said three merchant vessels remained on the scene with the search resuming at daylight assisted by two Australian planes and two local helicopters.

PNG-based Rabaul Shipping, the owner of the vessel, said it lost contact with the MV Rabaul Queen while it was travelling between Kimbe and Lae in what was believed to be bad weather.

In a statement, it said there were 350 passengers and 12 crew onboard the Japanese-built vessel. The passengers were PNG locals, many students studying at Lae, the ship’s final destination and home to a large university.

The catastrophe comes just months after the town was rocked by PNG’s worst air disaster in October which killed 28 people — most of whom were believed to be parents travelling to graduation ceremonies.

Full story…