24 Dec 2013

Solomons maritime safety head says no chance of repeat sinking in short term

8:36 am on 24 December 2013

The acting director of Solomon Islands' Maritime Safety Administration says there is no chance of a repeat of last week's ferry sinking in the short term because the agency has tightened up its procedures.

The MV Francis Gerena is estimated to have been carrying more than four times its legal number of passengers when it sank on the way to Malaita from the capital, Honiara.

Those responsible for the ship had defied an official order not to leave port and Timothy Harris says he has met with staff to make sure that doesn't happen again.

I suppose to put it bluntly we've read the riot act to them so that we can make them understand that their sole responsibility is the safety of the passengers. That is all that we're interested in the safety of the vessels. We're not concerned about whether people home for Christmas or not because there's enough room on the ship for them to get home for Christmas. All we're concerned about is that when the vessel leaves here, she is safe.

Timothy Harris says would not comment on allegations the crew of the MV Francis Gerena was drunk.