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Privatisation compromises safety of ferry passengers

08 February 2018

Posted in: Kiribati,

By Ruci Farrell -

The recent maritime tragedy in Kiribati has triggered widespread concerns about the safety of sea travellers as more public services are privatised.

MV Butaraoi. Photo/ Australian Federal Police.

Kiribati-born Pua Foai says ni-Kiribati are frequent travellers, but privatising services compromises safety as owners cut corners to make money.

Foai is appalled at the negligence behind the tragedy.

"I was really angry. I read the comments and a friend of mine in Kiribati sent me a message of the whole thing and people lost their lives because somebody was really careless."

Today is a public holiday in Kiribati honouring the 90 passengers lost on the MV Butiraoi last month and flags across the nation are flying at half mast. 

Meanwhile search operations for any surviving passengers have been suspended but President Taneti Maamau says local vessels and aircraft continue to scour the shores and open seas in the hope of finding remaining passengers. 

Cabinet this week announced there will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Butiraoi tragedy.