By Alfred Sasako
THE Government is believed to have appointed a three-man committee, which will take the next stage of the inquiry into the MV Taimareho tragedy forward, it was revealed last night.
Twenty-seven people, mostly high school students perished in the tragedy which occurred early on Friday morning 03rd April this year. The deceased allegedly fell overboard when the passenger ferry reportedly carrying more than 700 passengers was hit by rough seas in the crossing between Guadalcanal and Malaita Provinces.
Only six bodies were recovered.
Relatives and friends attended a Memorial Service in honor of those who lost their lives at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Honiara last night.
Island Sun was unable to get the names of the three-man committee owing to a media blackout imposed by the board of the Solomon Islands Maritime and Safety Authority (SIMSA) last week.
At the time of the news blackout, Island Sun was told two parallel investigations were underway – one by SIMSA and the other by police. The investigation by SIMSA is intended to establish whether maritime rules were breached. The investigation by police on the other hand is to establish whether or not there was criminal negligence.
The two parallel investigations formed the preliminary inquiry into the tragedy. The report from the preliminary investigation is due to be completed by Friday 17th April.
Sources last night confirmed that a three-man committee had been appointed to take the matter forward.
“This committee will go through the preliminary report and will forward recommendations that may warrant further police investigation with a view to laying charges against those who allowed the boat to leave that night, given that a cyclone warning was in force at the time of the ship’s departure,” the sources said.
A spokesman for one of the relatives who perished in the sea tragedy said relatives “are looking forward to the release of the report, given that so many innocent lives were lost.”
“People responsible must be brought to account,” Charles Karaori told Island Sun on Tuesday night.