The Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the Rabaul Queen in Papua New Guinea has found the inter-islands ferry was both unseaworthy and unsafe and should never have departed on its final voyage.
The Commission's report, obtained by Radio New Zealand International, says between 142 and 161 people died when the ship sank near Lae on February the 2nd.
It cannot give an exact figure because of the absence of a clear manifest.
The report is due to be presented to Parliament tomorrow.
Megan Whelan reports
"The Commission's report says the weather and sea conditions at the time of the capsize were gale force, and simply put, the ship should not have been where it was in the conditions that were present. The Commission found the ship's owner, Captain Peter Sharp demonstrated that he had little or no respect for people, including those in authority. It says this gross disrespect was reflected in the appalling and inhumane conditions in which he was prepared to allow passengers on Rabaul Queen to travel and may explain, in part, why he was prepared to compromise the safety of passengers on board his ships. It also found a number of failures by the Maritime Safety Authority, including that it allowed itself to be intimidated by Captain Sharp."