The Federal court imposed a fine of $242,000 to the Immigration Department for pure negligence that caused the accident of the boat Malu Sara, killing 5 people.
The court highlighted the negligence on the part of the immigration authorities to care for and maintain the vessel. There were repeated incidents of skipping the vessel checks before sailing. Malu Sara was not even provided with any emergency measures during the sailing.
The 6.5m vessel sank along with the people onboard; this disaster killed total five people. Wilfred Baira and another man Ted Harry were the 2 immigration officials onboard along with Valorie Saub, a lady named Flora Enosa and her five year old kid Ethena.
The reckless attitude of the immigration officials was quite evident, because the vessel was allowed in water, despite of being unsuitable for sailing. This tragedy could not be summed up as an accident but a failure of the system. The tragedy was actually foreseen according to the court. Malu Sara had problems regarding buoyancy just 2 days before this tragedy. Imposing a fine anounting to $242K only seemed justified!
There were six boats dedicated for immigration purposes including Malu Sara, the inspection of the remaining boats revealed that none of them were watertight. It was quite clear that the immigration authorities took matters of assessment of the sea worthiness of the vessels lightly. The trip was allowed despite of Malu Sara having motor failure and water leaking in to vessel. Such incidents of failure were not reported by the manager, the vessel also lacked the mandatory communication devices, navigation equipment as well as safety measures. The employees were not provided with any sort of training. The immigration department seemed helpless even when the boat started sinking.
Flora Enosa’s body was the only one to be recovered among others..
Neil Quarmby the manager of Work Health and Safety Group said that the employer was entirely responsible for the workers and welcomed the decision.
Subsee Explorer the boat manufacturer also have been challenged in court for loopholes in the safety and health rules and regulations.