11 Aug 2010

Tonga ferry operator says boat safe and he rubbishes engineer's claims

3:44 pm on 11 August 2010

The operators of the Tonga inter island ferry, the Ajang Subuh, say they have no qualms about the sea worthiness of the vessel.

This after claims by a Tonga marine engineer that the ship, a temporary replacement following last year's sinking of the Princess Ashika, is unsafe.

The Ajang Subuh, with substantial aid assistance from Australia and New Zealand, is providing a service until a permanent replacement, being built in Japan, goes into service later this year.

Marine engineer, Mosese Fakatou, claims there are basic faults with the vessel and it's unseaworthy.

But the overseer of the Ajang Subuh project, New Zealander, Steve Young, says the ship has successfully undergone a number of surveys, including one last month.

"So we can't do anything more than that. It's probably the most checked vessel in the whole Pacific. I wouldn't know a boat that had been checked so many times in the last year."