24 Feb 2010

Captain of Tonga's doomed Ashika ferry in police custody

10:04 pm on 24 February 2010

The captain of the doomed Tongan Princess Ashika ferry is in police custody charged with five counts of knowingly sailing an unseaworthy vessel.

Maka Tuputupu was arrested last night and has since appeared in court, charged in relation to the five trips that the Ashika took under his captaincy.

The vessel sank last August with the loss of 74 lives.

The captain appeared before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the sinking late last year.

The inquiry is ongoing and this week heard testimony from Tonga's Prime Minister over the government purchase of the 37-year old ferry.