20 Students Rescued at Sea in Choiseul Province

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A small vessel carrying 20 students and three crew members have been successfully rescued in Choiseul Province.

A small vessel carrying 20 students and three crew members have been successfully rescued on 30 January 2018 after the vessel developed mechanical problems while travelling from Moli, in Choiseul Province to Gizo in Western Province.

The boat, owned by the Catholic Diocese in Gizo left Moli for Gizo on 28 January when it experienced mechanical problems and started drifting.

“We were approached on 29 January by some concerned parents of the students along with the Catholic Diocese in Gizo about the incident after which police started coordinating the search,” says Provincial Police Commander, Western Province, Chief Superintendent Mathias Lenialu.

PPC Lenialu explains: “We began our search early on 29 January outside of Vella la Vella and Kolombangara and it was not until early in the morning of 30 January that the vessel was located near Choiseul. All persons on board the vessel are safe and well. A tug boat towed the vessel to Posarae, South Choiseul. The tug boat was boarded by two Police Officers from Taro Police Station.”

“I want to thank those who were involved in the search including the tug boat owners from Legavana logging camp, Posarae, South Choiseul and Kolombangara Forest Product Limited (KFPL) at Ringi as well as my officers for the search that was done resulting in rescue of the students and crew,” says PPC Lenialu.

“I want to strongly remind people in the Western Province to take heed of warnings given out especially the need to check the weather before embarking on any boat trip during the current weather situation. Make sure you check that your boat or small vessel is sea worthy and you have the required marine safety equipment on board. Safety is very important. If during your journey the weather worsens, please take shelter and do not risk the life of your passengers and crew,” says Chief Superintendent Lenialu.

Always check the Met Office on phone 23658 or toll free 933 for the latest weather information and if you are lost at sea contact Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) phones on 21609 or 27685 or toll free 977. The Police Communication Centre can also be contacted on 23666 or toll free 999.