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BREAKING: Solomon Islands – 28 missing after ferry defies cyclone warning and sinks

Ex-fishery patrol vessel "Mugunghwa 16", now sailing under Solomon Islands flag as the "Taimareho 1".

PortandTerminal.com, April 3, 2020

Twenty-eight people are missing and feared dead after being washed from a ferry in Solomon Islands in the early hours of Friday morning as it encountered rough seas caused by Cyclone Harold.

Twenty-eight people are missing and feared dead after a ferry in the Solomon Islands set sail despite warnings not to embark during a cyclone.

The MV Taimareho was travelling on Thursday night from the capital Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, to West Are’are, on Malaita island.

The crossing through Iron Bottom Bay in the South Pacific nation is usually calm, with islands protecting much of the route, but maritime authorities had warned of dangerous conditions when the ferry departed.

The vessel hit choppy seas whipped up by Cyclone Harold. Up to 60 people are reported to have been on board.

Rescue efforts are underway but have been hampered by the bad weather.

Cyclone Harold has brought flooding and run boats aground in the Solomon Islands.

The country’s national disaster agency has issued several warnings of landslides and rough seas. Travellers are urged to exercise extreme caution.

Emergency officials there are already on high alert over the threat of the coronavirus.

The Solomon Islands is one of a dwindling number of countries not to have reported any cases.

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