Master knew ferry was unfit


#1

Master knew ferry was unfit
10 Dec 2009 [CENTER][B]Princess Ashika after sinking[/B]
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THE MASTER of the sunken Tongan ferry Princess Ashika has told an inquiry that he knew the vessel was unseaworthy, but he also knew his bosses would insist it sail regardless. THE MASTER of the sunken Tongan ferry Princess Ashika has told an inquiry that he knew the vessel was unseaworthy, but he also knew his bosses would insist it sail regardless.

Viliami Tuputupu told the Royal Commission of Inquiry that he was aware that the 37-year-old ferry was unsuitable for ocean voyages and knew it was an offence to sail an unseaworthy vessel. But he said the government-owned Shipping Corporation of Polynesia wanted it in service.

The 677gt ferry sank in calm weather on 5 August with the loss of 74 people, mostly women and children.

Tuputupu also admitted that on the night of the disaster, he and his crew did not pay enough attention to the ingress of water from several hull leaks.

Witnesses have told the inquiry the captain was asleep in his cabin and only reached the bridge in time to issue a mayday call, while passengers had been trying to bail out the vehicle deck for hours.