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Solomon Islands: Search for people washed overboard from MV Taimareho continues

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 7, 2020
The search for more than 20 people who were washed overboard in rough seas during Cyclone Harold is continuing in the Solomon Islands.
MV Taimareho
Tragedy   MV Taimareho
Six bodies have been recovered in one of the worst maritime disasters the country has seen in recent decades.

Topics: Solomon Islands Taimareho

But questions are being raised about the conduct of maritime officials, with West Are'are parliamentarian John Maneniaru telling Parliament the search wasn't carried until more than a day after it was reported.

"On Friday that whole day no search and rescue, and when we got to the second day we know at sea you're just going to recover dead bodies," he said.

The MV Taimareho was chartered by Mr Maneniaru to get his constituents back to their villages on the island of Malaita, as part of the government's response to the coronavirus.

Mr Maneniaru says authorities were simply not prepared for the scale of the disaster.

"Our systems are not connected, in terms of our laws and regulations. The authorities needed to put together and advance the plan are not there," he said.

Search efforts were reportedly also hampered by red tape with one patrol boat under quarantine, while another lost its anchor and couldn't travel for a day.

Authorities are investigating why the MV Taimareho travelled despite bad weather warnings and cyclonic conditions.

Other ships due to travel on Thursday night cancelled their trips because of the conditions.