28 May 2012

Police probe Solomons ship sinking

1:19 pm on 28 May 2012

Police in Solomon Islands have launched an investigation into the sinking of the vessel Solfish 001 that left 49 stranded on life rafts.

Rescuers from an Australian Air Force Orion, and several ships found the passengers and crew about 100 kilometres from Santa Cruz on Saturday after the vessel failed to arrive in Lata in Temotu Province on Wednesday.

The head of the rescue mission and acting director of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Brian Aonima, says police and the rescuers from the vessel MV Lata are working to ascertain what happened.

"At the moment, we have no report of what is the cause of the vessel [sinking]. We might get it this afternoon from the captain. I know that the MV Lata, departure boat Lata will arrive here in Honiara sometime late this afternoon and will be in a good position to give details about what caused the vessel to sink."

Brian Aonima says arrangements are being made to transport the passengers and crew of the Solfish vessel back to Honiara.