Peter Shanel Agovaka had made the statement yesterday after the MP for West Are’are John Maneniaru blamed the search and rescue division for its inefficient services.
“Yesterday (Monday) the Member of West Are’are has blamed the government for the recent tragedy, but the government through maritime has already sent out warnings to the ships on Thursday before MV Taimahero departed,” said Mr. Shanel.
The Minister for Communications and Aviation said if the ship had taken heed of the advice and listen to the warning such no tragic incident may occur resulting in 27 lives being lost.
He stated if the captain or whoever made the decision for the ship to depart after the warning was given out then it is not the government’s fault.
“We have done our part through warning from the maritime by giving out a warning to ensure ships not to sail,” he said.
He added the government will investigate the matter, where somebody has to be answerable for making the decision for the ship to depart, after hearing the warning from maritime.
“Somebody has to pay for this, crucified for this, because for 27 people to die is unnecessary,” said Mr. Shanel.
He then reminded the public, shipowners, and shipmasters to listen to the maritime advice before sailing.
On behalf of his people in Central Guadalcanal, Mr Shanel expressed his condolence and heartfelt sympathy to families and relatives of the victims who lost their lives in the recent tragedy.
Minister of Environment and Conservation Dr. Culwick Togamana in parliament yesterday also clarified several warnings were issued by the weather office during the day and later a special bulletin about the cyclone warning was issued at 9.30pm on Thursday night before the ship left Honiara at 11 pm.
He also expressed his sincere condolences to the many lives that have been lost at the sea tragedy.
By Esther Nuria