The Royal Solomon Islands Police Patrol boat GIZO has withdrawn from the search for the 27 people missing from the MV Taimareho in very bad weather associated with tropical cyclone Harold in the early hours of 3 April 2020 when travelling from Honiara to West Are’are in the Malaita Province
The patrol boat Gizo joined in the search as from 4 April together with the MV Taimareho, RSIPF officers from Auki and other members of the local communities in west Are’are and South Malaita.
Up to yesterday afternoon, six dead bodies, three female and three male, have been recovered at sea near Maka and Uhu Village in South Malaita.
“Unfortunately we had to withdraw the patrol boat GIZO from the search and rescue mission for the missing people to refuel and restock rations. The patrol boat had just returned from a surveillance patrol when it had to rush to Tulagi to seek shelter from the tropical cyclone last Thursday 2 April 2020. While there at Tulagi it was directed to join the search for the missing people off the MV Taimareho without having been refuelled and re-rationed after the surveillance trip. After three days taking part in the search operation it had to return to Aola Base in Honiara,” Director of RSIPF Maritime Department, Chief Superintendent Charles Fox Sau explains.
He adds: “At this stage it has not yet been decided whether the patrol boat GIZO will re-join the search operation. This is because we believe the search for the missing people from MV Taimareho should now focus on the coastal areas which is much suited to smaller boats like OBMs and stabi-crafts or people merely combing the coastlines.”
RSIPF officers from Auki together with members of the families and relatives of those missing and people from villages in west Are’are and south Malaita are continuing the search for the 21 people still missing.