16 Sep 2009

Tonga Port Authority head unhappy damning ferry letter has gone public

7:25 pm on 16 September 2009

The general manager of the Tonga Port Authority says a letter he wrote describing the sunken ferry Princess Ashika as unseaworthy was never meant for the public.

Commander Lupeti Vi's comment follows the newspaper publication of a letter sent after the sinking to the Prime Minister in his capacity as the authority's chairman.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry is underway into the accident last month, in which 74 people lost their lives.

The commander's letter outlines welding repairs conducted at night without the necessary permission and warns of bloodshed if the victims' families learn the truth about the boat's unseaworthiness.

"I'm not worried about it because what I said on the letter is the truth you know and whatever the consequences of that it's up to the people to decide. All I'm telling you is I'm not happy to see that the letter has been published in the paper or the media because the letter was written to the Prime Minister"

Commander Lupeti Vi of the Tonga Port Authority.

The Prime Minister would not comment as the matter is before the Royal Commission.