Following the closure of BDA and its subsidiary, PNG Maritime Transport Limited, some displaced PNGMTL staff have found shelter in the abandoned ships.
With 4 ships docked in the waters off Madang town, certain displaced employees still live on those ships.
In Port Moresby, two former employees have been living on Alotau Atolls since 2018 and with no income to support them, they have been keeping each other’s back.
Steven Jolly, a former motorman on Alotau Atolls, one of the three ships docked in a private shipping yard in Port Moresby and Andrew Usige who worked as Seaman on the same ship found shelter on Alotau Atolls following the closure of BDA.
From the 3 ships that were left abandoned near Napanapa in Port Moresby, MV Bougainville Atolls and MV Glouster are rusting away with the latter about to sink.
These two ships have been vandalized with most of the items on the ships stolen.
MV Alotau where Steven and Andrew live in, is intact and the two have been living here with no form of income and no one to support them.
Steven later found a job with a shipping company and moved on.
“So, I told Andrew that there was an opportunity to work so I will leave on to care for Milne Bay Atolls and I will go work on this ship. This is the only way I can support both of us with my family back in the village. With the little I earn, I will support you to buy some rice, protein and washing detegents to wash your clothes so you can stay on the ship and look after her,” Steven told Andrew before he left to work with another ship.
Andrew has lived on with the little support he receives from Steven. He has a wife and five children back in Lae and says he’s been urged to return home by his family, but it is a decision he cannot easily make.
“My family also suffered but we all try to make it through. I don’t know how my family live in Lae. Many times, I feel sad when I think of my family. They tell me to return home but I keep telling them, I have to get my entitlements before I come home to them. I tell them not to worry but to stay on,” Andrew commented when asked about his family.
Steven says he will continue to support Andrew until the government listens to them and pay them what is their due.
“We haven’t lost hope, we have hope that our leaders are still negotiating with the relevant authorities so they can recognize us,” added Steven.
For now, Andrew survives alone on Alotau Atolls on the seas just outside Port Moresby, depending entirely on Steven to support him with his needs.
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