23 Jul 2009

Kiribati calamity prompts boating rules enforcement

3:43 pm on 23 July 2009

The Police Maritime service in Kiribati says it is stepping up measures to ensure boat operators comply with the rules, following last week's fatal boat accident.

Police Maritime says 15 people have been confirmed dead and 18 are still missing after the accident involving a double-hulled canoe which set sail from Tarawa to Maiana.

The Commander of Police Maritime, John Mote, says there were 55 people on board the vessel and 22 have survived the ordeal.

He says many lessons have been learnt and police will be tougher on enforcing the rules.

"That's a big signal for everyone especially the owners who are operating the local boats, and for the marine authority to be more strict on compliance, and for police to enforce the regulations."

John Mote says a joint church service will be held at the Kiribati National Church on Friday to remember those who died.