Republished from Radio New Zealand, 16 February 2018

Papua New Guinea’s government has been asked to investigate the disappearance of nationals aboard foreign fishing vessels in recent years.

Parliament has been told that 18 Papua New Guineans working as fisheries observers in seas around PNG have disappeared in the past five years.

The Post Courier reports that it was the Governor of East Sepik province, Allan Bird, who drew attention to the ongoing problem of disappearing observers.

Observer looking for diving birds - copyright Francisco Blaha

Observer looking for diving birds – copyright Francisco Blaha

The latest observer lost was James Numbaru, an employee of PNG’s National Fisheries Authority, who went missing in mysterious circumstances in the sea near Nauru last year.

Mr Bird asked what the government is doing about such disappearances, and whether any fishing companies have been held accountable for deaths of observers.

He has called for an immediate investigation into the disappearances, to which the Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel said the government was open.