Ship cabins turned into officials' rooms

The 245m Pacific Jewel, which houses mainly journalists, has 14 decks and berths for nearly 1,700 people and is moored offshore at Port Moresby.
The 245m Pacific Jewel, which houses mainly journalists, has 14 decks and berths for nearly 1,700 people and is moored offshore at Port Moresby.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

ABOARD THE PACIFIC JEWEL (Papua New Guinea) • A quoits deck, plunge pools and sunset yoga: For security and logistical reasons, thousands of delegates and journalists attending this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum have very unusual quarters - on hulking cruise ships moored offshore.

"Like nothing on Earth" screams the slogan in huge dark lettering against their gleaming white hulls, off Papua New Guinea's crime-ridden capital of Port Moresby.

The 245m Pacific Jewel, where mainly journalists are housed, has 14 decks and berths for nearly 1,700 people ranging from small interior cabins to spacious suites with an ocean view.

Summit organisers turned to the cruise ships amid a lack of sufficient facilities in the Papua New Guinean capital, where this year's summit is taking place. The Pacific Island nation is the poorest of the 21 countries in Apec.

The other concern was security - how to keep officials from around the world safe in Port Moresby, rated one of the most dangerous cities on earth.

Unsurprisingly, security is tight both on board and on shore. Moored just 1km from the Pacific Jewel lurk two menacing warships. Small police inflatables and Jet Skis patrol nearby waters constantly.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline 'Ship cabins turned into officials' rooms'. Print Edition | Subscribe