More evidence of rust on the ferry Princess Ashika has emerged at the Royal Commission into its sinking in Tongan waters earlier this year.
A welder and fitter for the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, Manase Katoa, says the vessel was unfit for service with a high level of rust and corrosion.
In the inquiry transcript, Mr Katoa says when he saw the ferry on 1 July, more than a month before it sank, the amount of rust would have been visible to anyone looking at the ship.
He says the floor of the cargo deck was also corroded.
Mr Katoa says while repairs were made in the month before it sailed, it would have taken five months for full repairs.
His evidence, including photographs, backs up material shown to the inquiry by former government marine engineer Mosese Fakatu.