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PNG Seven Stranded in Tuvalu

SEVEN Papua New Guinea nationals are stranded in Tuvalu, an island nation in the Polynesian subregion of Oceania in the Pacific.

Philip Tuau, 32 from West Sepik; Jaros Akia, 43, from Enga; Yamandi Mathias, 49, from Morobe; Nelson Kadiu, 61, Jimmy Tobiyala, 30, and Rex Napatali, 40, from Milne Bay, and 48-year-old Isaac Ronnie from Madang and Oro were sent to Tuvalu for work.

They were dispatched from PNG by their employer, Nawae Construction, to work on a project called the Tuvalu Outer Island Maritime Infrastructure Project (OIMI). Their work involved building maritime infrastructure like jetties.

The men now have no form of formal income, and are bunked up on a barge anchored at Tuvalu harbour.

“We are stranded here in another country with no money. We have not been paid for 21 fortnights. Life here is hard and our families back home are feeling the brunt of the suffering that we are facing here because they’re suffering the same,” said Ronnie.

He said, sometimes their employer, Nawae Construction, sends them meal allowances, but the flow of this allowance is not constant, so some days, they go fishing and sell their catch to make money to get by.

These men are now without jobs and are desperate to return home.

Upon receiving word that one of the daily newspaper’s here in PNG had published their story, 49-year-old Yamandi Mathias said they have not received any word from authorities in PNG.

“Please, we want to come home, we need our families and our families need us,” lamented 30-year-old Jimmy Tobiyala.

Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration office in Fiji has responded to their plea through contacting one of the seven, Isaac Ronnie.

EMTV Online will bring you more updates as this story develops.

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