21 Jan 2003

Cruise ship sinking in French Polynesia postponed

11:36 am on 21 January 2003

A court in French Polynesia has ruled that the planned sinking of a damaged cruise ship be deferred by a month.

The Windsong, which was destroyed in a fire off Tahaa at the beginning of last month, was to be sunk in a 3-thousand metre deep trench south of Tahiti.

But the French news agency, AFP, says the court has now ruled that the proposed sinking is not within the authority of the territorial government which had approved the plan.

Instead it ruled that it is up to the French state to decide how the wreck be disposed of.

The sinking has been criticised by the Green Party and by divers who proposed leaving the ship in a lagoon at a depth of 30 metres.