19 Jul 2010

Kiribati maritime safety services hampered by a lack of money

1:45 pm on 19 July 2010

The police in Kiribati says efforts have been made to step up enforcement of safety regulations following last year's ferry capsizing, but it's being hampered by a lack of resources.

35 people died when the ferry Uean Te Raoi II capsized last July.

A report by New Zealand's Transport Accident and Investigation Commission has found the ferry was overloaded with people and cargo, and had been modified so it was unstable in open seas.

Police maritime commander, John Mote, says they stop many overloaded vessels, but the police and marine department lack the resources to catch them all.

"The problem with the ministry, they don't have enough officers to conduct their routine inspections on these vessels. I think they got only three officers in the office. And there's a lot of vessels with different embarkation points, so that's another biggest problem here, they can depart from anywhere."

John Mote says the ferries are also difficult to monitor because there are no fixed times for their departure.