Since the Rabaul Queen disaster that claimed from 200 lives, many travellers have been wary of sea travel with many opting not to travel at all.
Those who have a choice travel by plane. But for people in Pomio, the far western side of the East New Britain Province, there a few options. The weekly ferry operated by R & A shipping services, is cheap and easy. Its either that or travel by open sea on a banana boat.
Passenger shipping used to be big in the 80s and 90s. Lutheran Shipping was the dominant force over four decades, servicing Momase, Oro, Milne Bay and in one instance, the New Guinea Islands.
That era is gone.
I still vent about the opportunities Morobe Province had with Lutheran Shipping and how it was destroyed by corruption and selfishness of a few.
As I stood inside the cabin, a crew member began a safety briefing. Nothing classy like the airlines… but practical.
“Don’t open your mouth to yell to your friends… use the whistle.”
“Block your nose when you jump in the water. If you water will go into your nose and you will drown.”
The ticketing system is better than what I have been in other provinces. Cargo is weighed and loaded. Every name and ticket number is recorded. Each passenger is given a green tag.
They even gave me a cabin biscuit and a warm can of Gogo Cola (radio ad is still playing in my head as I sit down)
It should be a good trip. Not a big fan of sea travel by the way. If you want to go to Pomio, It’s just K130.