MV Rabaul Queen, Lest We Forget

By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae

Today marks the third anniversary of the capsizing and sinking of the MV Rabaul Queen in rough seas off the coast of Finchaffen, on its way from Kimbe to Lae with over 500 passengers on board.

This was one of Papua New Guinea’s worst maritime disasters.

In Lae, a small section of the city’s old cemetery was filled with wreaths and flowers today, laid by family members of the victimsn to remember over 300 men, women and children who lost their lives on board the MV Rabaul Queen, three years ago.

On this monument are the names of the souls on the ship who boarded the vessel from Bougainville, East New Britain and Kimbe, on their way to Lae.

It’s understood that over 500 passengers were on that vessel, significantly over the ferries capacity of 310 passengers.

For some who survived the tragic voyage, life isn’t the same.

Grace Konukung and her whole family were on MV Rabual when it capsized and sank 16 kilometres from FinchaffenShe lost her five-year-old daughter, Carol Konukung, who drowned while her mother tried to swim out from the sinking ship.

Life for Grace and her family have continued three years on, but will never be the same as it was before the tragedy.

Tracy, standing next to her mother, survived; she was seven at the time.

A commission of inquiry was set up by the national government to investigate the accident.

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