9 Feb 2018

NZ looks to beef up help to Kiribati

4:09 pm on 9 February 2018

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is planning to look at wider distribution of emergency locator beacons in Kiribati in the wake of last month's ferry disaster.

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Photo: supplied

Kiribati has announced a Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the Butiraoii, which is believed to have claimed about 80 lives.

Kiribati is included in New Zealand's $US22 million maritime safety programme for the Pacific which is providing tools and training to several island countries.

Pacific Maritime Safety Advisor Dave Billington said it started the process to supply Kiribati with electronic radio beacons, known as EPIRBs, and personal locator beacons late last year.

He said advisors will look at what more New Zealand can do to help.

"What support can we put into this area around domestic ferry safety and that will be based around what emergency equipment they've got on board, but more importantly what we can do to help to inspect these vessel and make sure they're safe before they actually leave for sea."

The Butiraoi vanished after leaving Nonouti on 18 January, and seven survivors were found drifting in a dinghy a week later.

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