7 May 2010

Frustration over Kiribati ferry disaster report kept secret

8:34 am on 7 May 2010

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Kiribati says delays in the public release of a report into last July's ferry disaster are frustrating, as maritime incidents continue to happen.

More than 30 people drowned when an overloaded ferry capsized, and although several passengers survived, the exact number of lives lost has never been confirmed

Robert Kaiwai says the Transport Accident Investigation Commission handed its report to the Kiribati government at the end of February but it has taken no action or made the findings public despite pressure from the New Zealand government.

"Some of the issues are around, mainly around craft safety and the seaworthiness of these particular vessels for open ocean passenger ferrying. So it's something that we feel very strongly about having this addressed quite quickly. We've lobbied quite hard at this end. So at the end of the day the onus is on the government of Kiribati to get back to us on this."

Robert Kaiwai says the New Zealand government has offered support to Kiribati to implement the report's findings.