Relatives of victims of MV Taimareho tragedy angered by government ignoring compensation claim
By EDDIE OSIFELO
RELATIVES of the 27 victims of the MV Taimareho tragedy are surprised and angry to see Solomon Islands Government and West Are Are Shipping Community Company Ltd refusing to pay a customary claim demanded by them.
Chief Augustine Mareisia said according to their culture, compensation should be paid before anything else.
Mareisia said, “compensation is the only road to healing and peace.”
He said their reasons amongst others for the customary compensation claim are:
- The death of their relatives occurred during the COVID-19 evacuation financed by SIG;
- The death of their relatives are a direct consequence of the Marine Division and company’s management negligence because they allowed the MV Taimareho to sail despite the ship was overloaded with over 700 passengers instead of only 300;
- The ship to sail into a prevailing cyclone Harold;
- The ship had no captain and under crewed (13 instead of the required 30);
- The ship was not sufficiently fuelled;
- The ship was not seaworthy; and
- No rescue attempt was ever attempted.
Chief Mareisia said the SIG and company never responded to the customary compensation claim.
“Now sorrow and anger will continue because of the unresponsiveness of SIG and company,” he said.
Mareisia said the relatives have the following questions to SIG leaders and company’s management;
- Why do the SIG and company want brush the death of 27 people under carpet?
- How would you feel if you are the father and mother of one or more of the 27 victims?
- What would SIG leaders, the company do if those 27 victims were their sons and daughters?
- Compared to the recent swearing to the Prime Minister are the lives of 27 young boys, girls, men and women worth.
He said relatives also denied receiving anything from the numerous contributions made to their Member of Parliament John Maneniaru in respect of the 27 victims.
Meanwhile the relatives are seeking legal assistance on the matter.
MV Taimareho encountered high soils and strong winds associated to Tropical Cyclone Harold which saw 27 passengers washed overboard between Guadalcanal and Malaita on April 3.