Search for three missing fishermen including an Australian called off in PNG

Papua New Guinea officials are told by a survival expert that there is little chance of finding the men who went missing on Saturday in waters off Port Moresby alive.

AMSA Challenger aircraft

PNG officials call off the search for three KPMG employees missing in waters off Port Moresby. Source: AMSA

A search and rescue operation for three men, including an Australian, lost at sea off the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby has been called off after PNG authorities were advised there was little chance of survival.

One PNG national survived by swimming to an island after their boat capsized during a fishing trip in rough weather on Saturday night.


“The suspension was made after receiving indication from an Australian survival expert that at last light (on Monday) the time frame for survival for the missing persons will have expired,” a PNG source told SBS.

PNG’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) led the multi-national operation which included aircraft from Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Defence Force.

The three missing men, including a Fijian and PNG national, were employees of accounting firm KPMG in Papua New Guinea.

“Local authorities have today advised us that the boat used by three KPMG staff members, missing in waters off Port Moresby since Saturday, has been found. There is no sign of the occupants,” KPMG said in a statement.
“Hope of finding survivors is diminishing.
“We are staying very close to, and supporting their families and our colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them during this distressing time.”

The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) in a statement in response to the tragedy warned small boat owners “to be more responsible”.

“Four passengers on board a banana boat had gone out to Fisherman Island, a 30 minutes boat ride out of the City had not returned to the Royal Papuan Yacht Club (RYPC) on Sunday,” the NMSA said.

It added there was “no radio communications with the boat or the Club for notification of their departure”.

NMSA chief executive officer Paul Una said “small boat owners, operators and passengers... must exercise some responsibility and comply with sea safety measures including, not overloading, carrying extra fuel and not travelling in bad weather”.

KPMG's statement praised the “Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Australian Defence Force, Indian Navy and Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre PNG” for their efforts in trying to save the missing men.

2 min read
Published 13 June 2017 at 4:33pm
By Stefan Armbruster
Source: SBS World News