Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk
Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan has met and thanked Captain Nathan Tai Tombe and crew of the HMPNGS Moresby for their “brave action” in intercepting and impounding a foreign vessel off the coast at the weekend, reports the PNG Post-Courier.
Eight crew on the unregistered ship were arrested and charged – one of them wounded in the boarding operation.
Sir Julius was unaware of the action, but was inspecting a new fish processing plant in which the New Ireland government is a joint venture partner, with Arthur Jones and his company, PMAX, officials said yesterday.
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When Sir Julius arrived at the site, he noted the PNG Navy vessel docked at the adjacent wharf and asked Jones what the vessel was there for.
He was told the HMPNGS Moresby had intercepted an unregistered foreign vessel at sea near Kavieng and had forced it to come to port.
Sir Julius immediately visited the docked vessel and the captain and crew.
On recognising the former prime minister, the crew double-timed from the ship and mustered on the dock, where they saluted Sir Julius on his arrival.
Sir Julius then introduced himself to Captain Tombe, who proceeded to explain what had happened two days before.
Warned by bullhorn
The Moresby intercepted the foreign vessel and warned the crew of the ship by bullhorm to stop for inspection.
However, the warning was ignored. Warning shots which were fired over the bow of the ship were also ignored.
An update on the Chinese vessel #PNG Defence Force Navy intercepted today: the AFP was involved with the operation which saw the illegal vessel brought back to Kavieng. Former PM Sir Julius Chan congratulated the team. The 8 Chinese citizens have been arrested and charged. pic.twitter.com/HclD2oUHai
— Deni ToKunai (@Tavurvur) August 25, 2020
As a result, the HMPNGS Moresby drew alongside the vessel and fired aboard, wounding one crew member.
Following this, the ship pulled up and was ordered to accompany the Moresby to Kavieng, where it is at anchor, with the wounded crew member in Kavieng Hospital.
Sir Julius expressed his thanks to Captain Tombe and his crew, and invited the captain and several crew members to accompany him on his inspection of Arthur Jones’ rehabilitated fish processing plant.
Following the inspection of the plant, Sir Julius invited Captain Tombe to accompany him on a tour of the new New Ireland Legislative Assembly building, which is scheduled to be officially on September 15 and 16.
Captain Tombe, who hails from Jiwaka province, said he and his crew were stunned at the opportunity to meet Sir Julius.
“You don’t get a chance to meet someone like Sir Julius every day,” Tombe said.
“And for him to recognise us for the work we do was just amazing.
“He is a great man.”