8 Aug 2009

Tragedies in Tonga and Kiribati do not indicate wider maritime problems says expert

10:26 am on 8 August 2009

A Pacific marine authority says the boating tragedies in Tonga and Kiribati do not indicate wider problems with maritime safety in the region.

This week's ferry sinking in Tonga, follows the capsizing of a double-hulled canoe last month which left 15 confirmed dead, and 18 more missing.

But John Hogan, the manager of the regional maritime programme from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, says he believes these are isolated incidents.

"The two incidents both in Tonga and in Kiribati with the tragic loss of life, are of course of deep concern. I think if you look at shipping in the Pacific generally, with the amount of people that travel inter island and the amount of cargo that is carried, shipping in the Pacific is actually up to safety standards and its actually quite safe."

John Hogan says recent audits in both Tonga and Kiribati showed they were meeting international requirements for crew standards, safety and certification.