17 Dec 2018

Kiribati Govt says ferry disaster report will be made public, eventually

7:12 am on 17 December 2018

The Kiribati Government says a report on the sinking of the Butiraoi, in which at least 80 died, will be made public once a police investigation is completed.

The interisland ferry, which was deemed unseaworthy, was travelling between Nonouti and Tarawa in January,  when it sank.

There were seven survivors.

Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued.

Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued Photo: Facebook/ @RadioKiribati

A lengthy inquiry was completed several months ago but the government has resisted making the findings public, citing previous such investigations to support its position.

But last month the government did announce police will consider whether there were any criminal charges should be laid and for that reason the report cannot be released because this could undermine the investigation.

But it said, in a statement that for transparency purposes and to make peace with those people directly involved in the incident, President Taneti Maamau has agreed the report will be made public once the necessary steps were completed.

The release adds that amendments to the Maritime Act have been tabled to improve the safety of passengers on vessels in Kiribati waters, partly as a result of what's in the report.

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