Barge sits idle at Oro Bay

By John Pangkatana - Post Courier

The barge, Cathy 15, seized by PNG Customs officials in Oro Bay last week will not move until Customs and National Forestry Service officials have completed their investigations.
Southern police commander Inspector Jerry Frank said the barge in Oro Bay would not move until implications surrounding its alleged link to logging with the customary landowners are resolved.
Insp Frank said: “I’ve instructed the PPC (Provincial Police Commander) to keep out of internal politicking. Police are only there to maintain law and order.”
He said this because it was earlier perceived that the local police were there to escort the barge to the logging operation site in Wanigela in Collingwood Bay, Tufi.

“Police will only move on direction from Customs or Forestry,” he said.
Insp Frank said there were legal implications that needed to be addressed.
“It is not correct that local police are involved with the logging operation,” he said.

The barge is said to be carrying millions of kina worth of earthmoving equipment for a full-scale logging operation. The equipment is now sitting idle and is not likely to get to its intended destination.The intended destination is a further three hours on the pontoon pulled by a tug from Oro Bay.
A local activist in forest and land rights representing the Collingwood Bay Conservation and Development Association Adelbert Gangai last week confirmed that he saw K10 to K15 million worth of equipment on the barge.

“There is everything here from bulldozers, front-end loaders...everything, you name it,” he said.
Mr Gangai said there had been some home truths that had been revealed by the seizure of the barge.
“Some people are likely to lose a lot of money from this due to wrong advice from certain factions,” he said. 

Mr Gangai has served three papers to the shipping agent for Cathy 15 and the barge captain.
They are the:
* Same court order (OS 313 of 1999 and OS 556 consolidated) from 2002 to halt mobilisation;
* Cancellation of land title portions 113 (Kwagir) and 143 (Dirudadan); and
* No approval from the National Forest Authority for clearance activity covering the Wanigela Integrated Agriculture Project.



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