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Port State Control - January 25

London, Jan 25 -- A press report, dated today, states: Ferry Pulupaki (built 1950), the only remaining inter-island ferry in Tonga, has been sent to sea by its owner - despite being surveyed as "unsafe" and "unseaworthy". The New Zealand and Australian governments have reacted by paying for flights for stranded children to get to school, because they can't reach their classrooms any other way. The Pulupaki ferry is usually moored at Nuku'alofa Wharf, but today was nowhere to be seen. The vessel was detained because of serious defects, but its owner, Uliti Yata, has allowed it to head out with 10 crew to rescue a broken down oil rig off Tonga. Mr Yata argues that the vessel is seaworthy, saying that the report says it is seaworthy, "except for the surveyor from New Zealand". The New Zealander's report found that Pulupaki had one of the main defects that lead to the sinking of the Princess Ashika - a leaking ramp. Mr Yata has disregarded the findings.

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