15 Feb 2019

Kiribati govt undertook third investigation into ferry sinking

1:33 pm on 15 February 2019

The Kiribati government quietly opened a third investigation into the sinking of a ferry that killed 80 people last year.

Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued.

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

The transport minister's investigation into the sinking of the MV Butiraoi is separate to a completed Commission of Inquiry and an ongoing police investigation.

Willie Tokataake's investigation, which has not previously been reported, was conducted last year.

It began sometime after March, 2018, under the provisions of the Kiribati Maritime Act.

New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission assisted Kiribati with the investigation.

Following public outcry, the Kiribati government released a rare statement in December saying the report from the Commission of Inquiry would be made public once the police investigation concludes.

The government, which has not commented publicly on Mr Tokataake's investigation, did not respond to RNZ Pacific's requests for comment.

A spokesperson for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the President of Kiribati, Taneti Maamau, had also made assurances to the New Zealand High Commission in Tarawa that the Commission of Inquiry report would be publicly released.

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