17 Feb 2010

Royal Commission into sinking of Tonga's Princess Ashika resumes

11:45 am on 17 February 2010

The Royal Commission into the sinking of Tonga's rust-riddled ferry, Princess Ashika, resumes today after being disrupted by Cyclone Rene which swept across the country.

The Tongan Prime Minister is expected to give evidence this week at the inquiry into the tragedy in which 74 people drowned.

Witnesses so far have presented material that points to system dysfunction, corner cutting and in cases deceit with much blame being directed towards the government.

Last week the suspended Shipping Corporation of Polynesia chief executive, John Jonesse, admitted he had used expired documents and forged a signature to complete the vessel's purchase.

The former Transport Minister, Paul Karalus, who stood down soon after the disaster, is expected to appear before the Commission on Friday.