25 Aug 2009

Memorial service held for Tonga ferry disaster

10:02 pm on 25 August 2009

A memorial service has been held at sea on Tuesday over the location of a sunken Tongan ferry.

The MV Princess Ashika sank on 5 August, about 90km northwest of the capital Nuku'alofa, 110 metres below sea level.

Fifty-four people survived the tragedy, 72 are unaccounted for and two bodies have been recovered.

A small flotilla of vessels carried survivors, relatives of the missing, members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Feleti Sevele and other officials to the site of the memorial.

Chairman of the Tonga Advisory Council in New Zealand, Melino Maka, says while the service may offer closure, many people will be looking to the Royal Commission investigation for answers as to what caused the ferry to sink.