31 Mar 2010

Report into Tonga ferry sinking details systematic failure by Government

3:42 pm on 31 March 2010

While the Tonga public is still awaiting the release of the inquiry into the sinking of the Princess Ashika last August, some media have obtained copies.

Earlier today the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the ferry disaster presented its report to King George Tupou the 5th, the Speaker and the Prime Minister.

The two key terms of reference were to identify criminal and/or civil liability in relations to the sinking, which claimed 74 lives.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, has seen a copy of the report and he says the commissioners have been careful not to incriminate anybody.

"Obviously they have considered what counsels' representing parties to the Commission had to say about the wording of the report, but in the report they say the Government had systematically failed in all areas relating to the buying of the Ashika, and that the CEO of the Shipping Corporation, John Jonesse, did not do enough homework in gathering information, enough for the Government to decide to buy or not to buy the MV Princess Ashika."