The Inquiry into the tragic sinking of the MV Princess Ashika in August last year has deemed the deaths of the 74 victims as senseless and that the causes of the disaster were "all easily preventable".According to the Matangi Tonga Online, the report also stated that the vessel was "unquestionably unseaworthy and in an appalling condition".
"It was scandalous that such a maritime disaster could ever have been allowed to occur. It was a result of systemic and individual failures," the Final Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Sinking of the MV Princess Ashika stated.
The report identifies the former Minister of Transport, Paul Karalus; and the Managing Director of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia Ltd, John Jonesse, as being responsible for the convincing of the Tongan government to purchase the MV Princess Ashika, without a due diligence report or a proper seaworthy survey being carried out on the 37 year old vessel. The crew of the vessel had also failed to appreciate the danger and take actions to abandon ship.
According to the Matangi Tonga Online, the Inquiry stated that the causes of the disaster were:
"- Purchasing the MV Princess Ashika, even though its design was totally unsuited for service in the open seas of Tonga;
- Purchasing the vessel, even though it was clearly in an unseaworthy and unsafe condition.
- Allowing the vessel to be sent to sea, even though its design was totally unsuited for service in the open seas of Tonga.
- Sending the vessel to sea, even though it was clearly in an unseaworthy and unsafe condition.
- The failure to have independent due diligence conducted prior to both the purchase of the vessel and its operation in Tonga.
- The failure of those in authority, when exercising their powers or performing their duties, to do so properly and adequately."
74 people lost their lives in the tragedy, which included women and children.
Please follow the link provided below to read the full article by the Matangi Tonga Online.