28 Jan 2010

Tonga's shipping corporation was told Ashika ferry seaworthy

12:44 pm on 28 January 2010

The Tongan Royal Commission investigating the sinking of the ferry Princess Ashika has heard the managing director of the shipping company, John Jonesse, told the company's board the ship was seaworthy.

The former chairman of the Shipping Company of Polynesia's board, Alisi Taumoepeau, has told the inquiry Mr Jonesse presented a paper saying the price of 600-thousand Fiji dollars was a good buy.

Richard Pamatatau has more

"Alisi Taumoepeau said the shipping company's board assumed John Jonesse was telling the truth and was happy with the report which also stated the Princess Ashika had double the capacity of the ship it was replacing. She says the board did not ask for an independent survey of the ferry or question its price. Ms Taumoepeau conceded the board lacked the information to make an informed decision to buy the ferry and it should have taken more care prior to the purchase."