22 Nov 2005

Ex-head of French Polynesia intervention group probed over ship sinking

12:28 pm on 22 November 2005

The former head of the GIP intervention group in French Polynesia has been placed under investigation for alleged manslaughter in connection with the sinking of one of the service's ships.

Seven people - GIP members and staff of a French Polynesian company - perished, when the Tahiti Nui Four went down in the Austral Islands in September 2003.

The newspaper, Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, reports that the probe involves Leonard Puputauki in his capacity of head of the GIP service which ran the vessel.

A report by the maritime accident and investigation bureau questions the seaworthiness of the vessel, saying it could only stay afloat through almost constant water pumping from the fore compartments.