1 Sep 2011

Tonga promises maritime safety improvement following Ashika disaster

3:18 pm on 1 September 2011

The Tongan government has endorsed the safety recommendations made by New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission following the sinking of the Princess Ashika.

The inter-island ferry sank just over two years ago with 74 lives lost.

The ministry of transport is promising that agencies running domestic shipping services will have sufficient maritime expertise to govern and manage their companies and vessels.

It promises safety management systems that comply with the International Safety Management Code.

The ministry says amendments to the Shipping Act will allow for the ongoing inspection, monitoring and auditing of every registered ship and its operation, in line with the International Code.

It also says if the Tonga Maritime Polytech Institute stays open there's a need for improved governance and greater resourcing.

The ministry further says it aims to improve inter-island transport services in terms of safety, reliability and accessibility in line with Tonga's strategic development framework.