Regional Maritime Report: Papua New Guinea

Regional Maritime Report: Papua New Guinea

Allmode Regional Reports 18

Over the summer months Allmode Security Services will issue ‘Security Reports’ covering the regions of Southeast Asia. The purpose of these reports are to aid vessels and their crews with up to date information that will help them build better knowledge of an area and improve their situational awareness.

Situational Awareness (SA) is all about having the information you need to make effective decisions. There will always be occasions when people are required to make critical choices – sometimes at a fast pace – and the vast majority of errors that can occur are as a direct result of failure in situational awareness.

For the majority of vessels and crew visiting Southeast Asia, it will be a very familiar sight, however for some it may be their first time and often, as with many locations across the globe, looks can be deceiving and can lull people into a false sense of security.

See excerpts below from the full report.


Papua New Guinea Overview

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There is a danger from earthquakes, which can be followed by tsunami warnings. In December 2011, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in Morobe province. In April 2014, a powerful earthquake struck off the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. There were no reports of injuries or damage. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the magnitude-7.5 earthquake was located 75 kilometres southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island. It struck at a depth of 31 kilometres.

There are active volcanoes in PNG and seismic and volcanic activity is likely to occur around Rabaul in East New Britain Province, Bougainville, Kimbe in West New Britain Province and on Manam Island in Madang Province. Ash from volcanoes in the Rabaul region and in Tavurvur in East New Britain sometimes disrupts airline schedules at Kokopo airport. Flights may be cancelled at short notice. On 29th August 2014, a volcanic eruption took place at Mount Tavurvur in Rabaul district. Communities in the vicinity of the volcano were evacuated. In 2010, Manam Island Volcano erupted. There has been no lava flow, but it is not recommended to climb on or around the volcano.
The tropical cyclone season runs between November and May. On 10th April 2014, tropical cyclone Ita hit Papua New Guinea. Ita brought winds to the region of around 148 km/h. Ita caused local flooding and damage to properties in the Milne Bay and Oro Provinces, displacing many villagers and disrupting livelihoods.

The country is also susceptible to floods and landslides. King Tides, which occur in coastal areas, can lead to local floods. In January 2013, a large landslide took place on the airfield runway under construction at Komo in Papua New Guinea’s Hela province. About 5 to 7 thousand cubic metres of earth material slipped away from one end of the runway. No injuries were reported. The landslide occurred near the site of a massive landslide in Tumbi that buried a village and killed at least 25 people in 2012.


Port Moresby

Port Moresby is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea. It is situated on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the south-eastern coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea. The population of the city amounts to about 310,00 and it covers an area of 240 square kilometres.

The city is quite spread out. The original colonial settlement was by the sea and this is still the port area, as well as the main business and banking district. On the hills above are upmarket residences. The area is served by the Crowne Plaza hotel. Closer to the airport, separated from the original town by hills, is Waigani, a 1970s development built to house the Government offices of the newly Independent (September 16, 1975) country of Papua New Guinea. Nearby are the housing areas of Boroko and Gordons, which also contain most of the large stores.

Port Moresby

Port Moresby is the main point of entry into Papua New Guinea for air-traffic and most of the boat-traffic.

Port Moresby has a tropical wet and dry climate. The wet season runs between December and May, whereas the dry season is for the remaining six months. Average daily temperatures range from 28 to 32 °C.

Crime in Port Moresby is well documented. Car jackings, muggings and worse are common.

There is a great deal of concern about the level of crime and civil disorder and about the ability and willingness of the police to cope. Police officers have been found to be complicit in major crime. Police brutality against minor offenders, complainants and witnesses has been the subject of criticism from the international group Human Rights Watch. Known high-risk areas include the area around Parliament House in the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani, especially outside of working hours. Other dangerous and not recommended places are Kila Kila, Sabama and Six Mile.

Raskol gangs (the indigenous Tok Pisin word for criminals)rule the streets of the Port Moresby. With an unemployment rate of 60 per cent, the dire poverty and fight for survival has made it a breeding ground for crimes such as rape, murder and carjacking. Port Moresby has been ranked as the most dangerous and unlivable cities on earth.

There are also pick pocketing incidents, which can turn violent and tourists should take care of their bags and valuable items when travelling on public transport, particularly from or to Port Moresby Airport.

Port Moresby is the main point of entry into Papua New Guinea for air traffic and most of the boat traffic. On arrival at Port Moresby there is now a new light on the NW side of the Basilik Pass, quick flashing red. The GPS position of the middle of the pass is 9.32.237 S, 147.07.961 E.

The customs office is in the commercial harbour south of the yacht club. Call the Yacht Club on VHF Channel 16 as they will help you with formalities.

The Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby is an excellent modern club with a large dining room, bar, TV's, Pokies (slot machines), the Internet, exercise and weight room, laundry facilities, showers and two large play areas for children. WiFi is available on the docks, 100K for 80MB.

The Club has its own secure marina and welcomes visiting yachts. There are a large number of locally owned yachts in Port Moresby, where facilities are generally good. It offers 100 moorings, its maximum draught is 3.00 metres and maximum length is length 20.00 metres.

It is tough to get in here unless a member signs you in, so it is advisable to make a contact before venturing over. The Royal Papua Yacht Club has its own marina with 24-hour security, but most spaces are occupied by members' boats so berths are in short supply.

Temporary membership is granted to members of other yacht clubs. Most repair facilities concentrate on the yacht club, whose new marina and clubhouse facility is close to the north of the previous site, the entrance at approximately 09°28'S 147°09'E. The docks are well made, securely fastened floating docks with metred 220V, 50Hz electrical outlets.

It is also possible to anchor in the "Duck Pond" whose depth is three metres. The holding is excellent, once the surface is penetrated and the anchor is dug in. The bottom is a mixture of coral sand and muddy clay. The Duck Pond is well protected by a groin, but wind can have an effect. Guarding services can be sourced through the yacht club.

Those who plan to anchor for a longer time, are recommended to anchor with chain rode.There have been reported thefts from boats at anchor, so do not forget to secure all loose items on deck. These tend to be violent, with arms involved. Remember that as a yacht owner, you are conspicuously a rich visitor in a poor neighbourhood. Many incidents of robberies from yachts have been reported.

For more information read the full report here

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