8 Dec 2003

Fatal shipping accident in French Polynesia said to be due to poor maintenance

7:56 am on 8 December 2003

An inquiry into last September's fatal shipping accident in French Polynesia has found that poor maintenance was the main cause of the accident.

Three people died and four went missing when the Tahiti Nui IV sank in heavy seas on the way to the southern island of Rimatara.

The news agency, AFP, says the vessel was carrying heavy construction machinery to build an airstrip.

Three days after the accident, the president of the territorial government, Gaston Flosse, said the ship had just passed its annual checks.

But an official report by the Sea Accident Bureau says there was poor maintenance of the vessel in the months before the accident.

The report also criticised the absence of any rescue training for the crew