An inquiry into a tragic ferry accident that left 95 people dead off the Pacific nation of Kiribati last year January 18, has revealed that the crew was intoxicated.
MV Butiraoi was reportedly carrying 105 people on a routine two-day trip from Nonouti island to Tarawa when it sank, killing ninety-five people on board.
An alarm was raised eight days and the authorities managed to rescue five passengers and two crew.
The 57ft ferry is reported to have embarked on the 160-mile journey across the Pacific waters without notifying the authorities. The crew also failed to issue a distress signal when the ferry began to capsize.
Teams from the US, New Zealand and Australia were dispatched on a search and rescue mission of the vessel whose radio beacon was either missing or deactivated.
Seven survivors were found on board the ferry’s aluminum boat.
An investigation conducted by the Kiribati government found that the ferry was not licensed to transport passengers at sea. The vessel was also carrying thirty tonnes of cargo.
The boat also lacked enough life jackets and one of the two available life-rafts had a puncture.
The vessel’s master is alleged to have ignored water warnings while most of the crew were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The report also made several safety recommendations.