BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE directors, General Manager, captains and the West Are’are Constituency shipping company have entered not guilty pleas to charges regarding the April 2020 incident that cost 27 lives at sea.
The plead this to 102 counts under the Shipping Act.
Their case has been adjourned to November 4, 2021 for a pre-trial conference before High Court Judge Justice Maelyn Bird.
The 12 defendants are charged in relation to the sea tragedy incident involving the ship MV Taimareho that caused the death of 27 people at sea in April 3, 2020.
The 12 defendants are charged under the shipping Act 1998, which include sending an unsafe vessel to sea, Vessel going to sea without a valid certificate, taking an unsafe vessel to sea, disciplinary offence, failing to keep an official log book, failing to notify the principal surveyor of change in condition of a vessel and not complying with the convention international on standards of training certification and watch keeping for seafarers.
The defendants on this case are charged under the 1998 Shipping Act.
They are Michael Roy Galo (ship master) Joe Malepa and Stephen Waina’a (captains) Shipping Directors are Esther Hoasihere, John Bosco Houanihunu, Lawrence Hunumeme, Stephen Maahanua, Aaron Oritaimae, William Parairato and Aloysius Poiohia and the General Manager Cypriano Taamora.
This is the case relating to the incident occurred on April 3, 2020 and 27 innocent lives were lost at sea in Malaita when MV Taimareho
The tragedy struck as the ship was carrying people from West Are’are back to their home villages during the national repatriation exercise ordered by the prime minister last year as the threat of covid-19 began in the South Pacific, drawing nearer to the Solomon Islands.
Only six bodies were recovered during the search.
Samuel Tovosia appeared on behalf of the Director Public Prosecution while the Public Solicitor George Gray represents Michael Roy Galo and a Private lawyer James Apaniai represents Joe Malepa, Stephen Waina’ai, WAC SHIPPING COMMUNITY COMPANY LIMITED and the Directors of WAC SHIPPING COMMUNITY COMPANY LIMITED