12 Dec 2011

Port Authority in Tonga aims to salvage sunken boats

9:07 am on 12 December 2011

The Port Authority in Tonga is preparing to salvage boats which have sunken at Nuku'alofa waterfront after being abandoned by their owners.

The Authority says up to 20 boats have been relinquished in Faua Harbour including vessels that are leaking oil and fishing boats and barges that have become submerged.

Its Chief Executive Officer Mosese Lavemai says the Authority is aiming to recover five vessels that have sunken after being abandoned for various reasons, including a decline in the fishing industry.

"Some boats are repossessed by the banks for not paying their loans. Some boats, the owners are foreigners from Asia but they have a partner in Tonga. They've left and there's no way we can find them around here. Some are waiting for parts to repair their engines."

Mosese Lavemai says the Port Authority will begin salvage operations this week and may eventually sell off parts of the boats.