8 Dec 2009

Ashika captain concedes negligence over Tonga ferry sinking

12:56 pm on 8 December 2009

The captain of the Princess Ashika, Viliami Tuputupu, has admitted he was negligent in allowing the Tongan inter island ferry to sail, knowing it was not seaworthy.

He was giving evidence when the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the vessel's sinking, in which 74 people lost their lives, resumed on Monday.

Captain Tuputupu had initially rejected suggestions he was at fault but he eventually changed his view after the questions were posed in Tongan as our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, reports.

"He could answer in Tongan via an interpreter and he admitted that he was negligent because he knew full well that the vessel was not seaworthy, that there were safety procedures that were not present, the [safety] manual was not present on the vessel and therefore he was negligent, with his crew, along with the people who had made the decision with regards to the vessel to be brought to Tonga."

Mateni Tapueluelu reporting