Friday, August 07, 2009

Ferry Princess Ashika disaster

This is a tragic story very depressing to read, though freaque wave has not even been implicated. Here's what happened according to Lloyd's List:
OVER sixty people are now feared to have been lost following the sudden capsize of inter-island ferry Princess Ashika off the coast of Tonga on Wednesday night.
Now the report from the eturbonews yesterday:
Aug 06, 2009

Two bodies have been recovered and 46 people remain missing after a ferry sank last night in waters off Tonga.

The ferry Princess Ashika sank in waters north of the main island of Tongatapu last night.

Some depressing details from one of the rescued:

It quoted Siaosi Lavaka, who was rescued from the Princess Ashika, saying that all the seven lifeboats that got away were filled with men.

"No women or children made it," he told Matangi Tonga Online at around midday today.

He said he believed the women and children were all stuck inside the ferry when it went down as they were sleeping when the ferry got into difficulties.

He said the sea was rough and the waves went into the lower deck of the ferry where the crew were.

The ferry rocked and he believed this caused the cargo to move to one side. The ferry then began to overturn and some passengers jumped off.

"We woke up to the sound of shouting and we jumped off."

Further details from Ohio daily-jeff:

The ferry had been traveling from Nuku'alofa to outlying northern islands of Tonga, which lies in the South Pacific, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Authorities said women and children had been taken below to cabins for the overnight journey. The men stayed up top, sleeping rough in balmy conditions that turned tumultuous.

Lavaka, whose mother was among the missing, said he woke to find the ferry rocking violently and waves breaking over the ferry's lower decks.

Latest news from New Zealand indicates now that 117 people were on board, two confirmed dead and 62 are missing presumed drowned and
It is believed the ferry rolled sharply and sank very quickly. A possibility being considered is that cargo moved, causing the vessel to capsize.

The tragedy has also raised questions about the seaworthiness of the 39-year-old Princess Ashika, which was brought to Tonga for short-term service only.
Let's pray for God's blessing for the lost ones and their families and that the rescue teams can still rescue more of the missing ones.

Update 08/08/2009:

Latest from nzherald:
The number of people believed to have been on board the Tongan ferry Princess Ashika when it sank on Wednesday has risen to 141.
And further reports:

A New Zealand Navy team of 12 divers and three specialist staff was despatched last night to join an Australian team in searching for bodies today.

Filo Akauola, editor of the newspaper Talaki, told Radio New Zealand a second vessel, owned by a Tongan MP, was sailing about 25 minutes behind the Princes Ashika on Wednesday night and those on board helped rescue the ferry passengers from the water.

He said the area was known for rogue waves.

The last statement is to be expected, which is at all possible, but most likely no verification can be made.

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