By Adelaide Kari – EM TV News, Port Moresby
On September 28th, Rickson Masol and Chris Pagan were sailing with three others from their home village of Fissoa to Simberi Island, when their boat experienced engine failure and started to drift. They drifted for 41 days before being found in the Federate States of Micronesia.
They had lost all communication with land and over the next six weeks they floated almost 1,000 kilometres to Satawan Atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia where local residents found them.
Locals say that they were surprisingly in good health, having survived by drinking rainwater and coconuts which washed past their boat. The three others, two men and woman unfortunately did not survive. The residents of Satawan Atoll helped them to get in touch with their families in Papua New Guinea, who contacted the IOM for assistance.
Today they were flown back to Port Moresby with the help of the International Organisation for Migration.
IOM is engaged in an awareness campaign focusing on maritime safety which involves partnerships with the Government, the small craft authority and the maritime authority and NGOs to prepare and improve maritime safety and save lives. IOM is involved in the development of policy change, and licensing procedure. They focus on Maritime Provinces like Morobe, Alotau and Bougainville
Masol and Pagan will be spending a night in Port Moresby before returning to New Ireland, where their families await them.