11 Aug 2009

Tonga Transport Minister resigns over ferry tragedy

5:52 pm on 11 August 2009

The Tonga Transport Minister, Paul Karalus, has resigned over the Princess Ashika disaster.

There had been calls for the Minister and others in Cabinet to step down following last week's ferry sinking in which 93 are thought to have died.

Mr Karalus, whose ministry is responsible for marine transport, says he and his staff have performed their duties with due care and diligence, but the overall interests of Tonga must be taken into account at this difficult time.

He says it is for this reason he has submitted his resignation from Cabinet to the Princess Regent, Princess Pilolevu, and to the Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele.

Mr Karalus says he extends his sincere apologies for any shortcomings the Ministry may have had and stands ready to help the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy.