FIVE AUSTRALIAN citizens are in police custody in Buka charged with illegally entering PNG from the Solomon Islands on the 16.5 metre yacht Perenti.
The Australians have been identified as Michael 'Northy' Northcote (46), Thomas Olsen (44), Clayton McDonald (33), Putu Winchester (34) and Michael O’Neil (42).
Captain Northcote was allowed out on bail and was aboard Perenti when our photographer took this picture. The five men will appear in court on Wednesday morning.
According to Senior Sergeant Alex Gunan, the five arrived at Arawa from the Solomon Islands but did not report to Buka for clearance.
The Perenti, which is registered in Sydney, then continued via Inus towards Buka.
Police were alerted and stopped the yacht as it was trying to leave Inus.
The captain and crew were then taken to Buka and charged for illegally entering PNG waters and for having drugs in their possession.
The yacht is now mooring near Sohano island between Buka island and the Bougainville mainland.