12 Jan 2012

Marking system at Tonga wharf to be reviewed following collision

2:32 pm on 12 January 2012

The harbour berthing system at Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa is to be reviewed following a collision between two ships this week.

The interim general manager of the Friendly Islands Shipping Agency says the collision between its one-year-old passenger boat, MV 'Otuanga'ofa and the cargo ship MV Sitka says it was an accident waiting to happen.

Viliami Vi says the Sitka was berthed accidentally slightly forward of where it should have been, covering the red paint mark denoting the space allocated for the Otuanga'ofa.

"Maybe what we'll do is - we keep on making the marks on the wharf, the painted marks - but what we'll get is a removable post so when we come there for berthing we'll put the post on those marks so that they can see them."

Viliami Vi says the damage to both vessels is minor and he estimates repairs will cost almost 3,000 US dollars for the Sitka and less than half that for the Otuanga'ofa.

The MV'Otuanga'ofa was bought to replace the ferry Princess Ashika which sank in 2009, killing 74 people.