9 Nov 2009

Speculation over Tonga shipping boss suspension

11:50 am on 9 November 2009

Questions are being asked in Tonga about why the head of the government-owned Shipping Corporation of Polynesia has been suspended part-way through the inquiry into the sinking of the ferry Princess Ashika.

The ferry sank on 5 August with the loss of 74 lives.

New Zealander John Jonesse says he has been suspended on full pay from his job as Shipping Corporation manager by the Tongan government.

Radio New Zealand International's correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu told Morning Report there is speculation over the timing of Mr Jonesse's suspension, when he was beginning evidence that the ferry was rusty and repairs were not completed before its final journey.

He says people feel the Tongan government is not forthcoming with information about the Princess Ashika.