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Mehau Zena Tupou: Taio ships safety report

Monday 13 January 2020 | Published in Letters to the Editor

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Mehau Zena Tupou: Taio ships safety report
Lapana Tupou, 7

Kia orana! Happy New Year to you and your family. We’re Lapana’s family and we’re currently in Rarotonga.

We’ve made this trip in memory of our one and only brother.

We’re not here to blame anyone for what has happened, as we’re a Christian family. No one is to blame for what has happened. My brother is missing!

There are no words to express to you how much pain our family is going through. You have no idea how hard it’s been for us to organise this trip to travel to Aitutaki to be closer to my brother.

Mehau Zena Tupou

Very sad for the family. Back in the year 2000 my family with two tamariki under 6 years at the time sailed to Pukapuka.

We slept one night in the berths because the safety railing had only two bars. It was the worst sleeping place if you had children.

If a child was to wake during the night and couldn’t think or remember where they were, very easy for them to go overboard!

My husband and I had a child each – we kept waking up to make sure our two children were still on the inside of us sleeping.

The next morning we moved to sleep down on the decking area.

Karina Maoate

Really unfortunate that we make a move when someone has had an accident or worse, lost their life. Why did this happen, was there any safety management system?

Are passengers told what to do in an event of a passenger going overboard? Are passengers asked if they know how to swim just in case of abandoning ship or told what to do when that time comes?

Is there a passenger weight limit? Are passengers required to be fit to travel by sea? Are passengers given cabins?

Are all crew members up to date with first aid? Are they trained or taught what to do when a passenger goes overboard? Can the crewmen swim in extreme weather? Is the captain trained for all emergency and safety procedures?

Is there an emergency or safety procedure for the boat? Is there enough life jackets? Is there enough life rafts to cater for all the passengers?

What was the reasons or what requirements did the Government allow a cargo boat that it was safe to take other passengers onboard? How did the cargo boat pass the test?

Is there a test or requirement for a cargo boat to pass in order for it to take other passengers?

Here’s my question to the Government, was the cargo boat fit for other passengers to travel in the first place?

Christine Isamaela