17 Apr 2010

Replacement ferry arrives in Tonga

6:13 pm on 17 April 2010

An interim ferry to replace the Princess Ashika, which sank with the loss of 74 lives in August last year, has arrived in Tonga from Malaysia.

Under the command of Captain Denis Nisbett of New Zealand, the Ajang Subuh berthed on Friday at Queen Salote wharf in the capital, Nukua'lofa.

The ship is expected to undergo some minor adjustments before making a trial run to the islands of Ha'apai and Vava'u and then, in two weeks' time, its first commercial run.

New Zealand and Australia will jointly fund the ferry for 12 months, with New Zealand contributing more than $2.5 million.