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October 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Pirates of Papua New Guinea

from the October, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Here's another reminder that some of the best diving happens in Third World countries with not-so-great economic and political conditions. In his reader report about a March trip aboard the MV FeBrina, David E. Reubush (Toano, VA) alludes to "a unique set of circumstances" that caused them to dive off the southern coast of New Britain in Papua New Guinea rather than the Alotau region because, "it had become too dangerous." Locals in the Milne Bay area had raided the police station, stolen guns and were robbing people on land and at sea.

Reubush wrote Undercurrent, "Among other things, they would approach locals in their canoes with speedboats, stop them, rob them of everything including their clothes, and force them to swim to shore . . . According to the newspaper account, we read there had been a number of drownings as a result, plus other deaths. This has evidently been going on for some time, including them raiding at least one of the resorts in the area. The big problem is that the leader of the bad guys is the brother-in-law of the police chief - so nothing was being done."

According to PNG TV, 16 men with high-powered guns stormed Tawali Resort, tops among divers in the Milne Bay area, on August 23 and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. They ordered guests and staff to go to the lobby, then demanded to see the resort manager, who had no choice but to hand over the keys to the safe. Besides the cash, the men took off with some guests' valuables. They left in a getaway dinghy, and the entire robbery happened in just under an hour.

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