The Kimbe District Court in Papua New Guinea has committed a national maritime official to stand trial in the National Court over the sinking of the Rabaul Queen.
The inter-island ferry sank in February 2012 with at least 173 deaths.
A National Maritime and Safety Authority officer, Michael Livinai, is one of seven, including the owner of Rabaul Shipping Peter Sharp, facing manslaughter charges over the disaster following police questioning.
The Post Courier reports the magistrate Martin Ipang as saying there is enough evidence for negligence of duty from witness accounts and the report from the Commission of Inquiry to commit Mr Livinai to stand trial.
Mr Ipang said it is obvious that the ship was overcrowded with passengers, with no safety measures and equipment in place.
He said it was the statutory duty of the defendant, as surveyor and inspector, to board and inspect the ship.