22 Feb 2011

Tonga engineer testifies for third day in Ashika trial

3:23 pm on 22 February 2011

A former marine engineer, Mosese Fakatou, is into the third day of evidence in the second week of the Princess Ashika trial in Tonga.

The Princess Ashika sank in August in 2009, claiming 74 lives.

Our reporter Falemaka Fihaki, says Counsel for defendant , John Jonesse, Laki Niu questioned Mr Mosese as to why he had not carried out the survey as soon as the Ashika arrived in Tonga.

"Mr Mosese told the court that he was required to conduct a survey of the Ashika for British Marine Insurance Company, but was waiting upon the manager of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, John Jonesse, for the go ahead to begin the survey. He was also asked why he hadn't spoken to British Marine Insurance or to the authorities of the boat's deficiencies so the voyage could be stopped. Mr Mosese said the survey was confidential and neither he or British Marine Insurance had the power to stop the voyage. The trial may take longer than the expected four weeks, as only three of the crown's 27 witnesses have so far been called."