SIMSA officer joins Kiribati search

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By Mike Puia

SOLOMON Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) officer, Peter Dauoma, has joined the search for survivors of a ferry that capsized in Kiribati more than a week ago.

Dauoma, who is the Chief Marine Officer in the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), boarded an Orion that landed here for re-fuel. The Orion was bound for Kiribati to be part of the search.

While confirming Dauoma’s engagement in the international search, SIMSA’s Director Tim Harris said he feels for those whose loved ones are still missing in the tragedy.

About 80 people were onboard MV Butiraoi when it capsized. A search was mounted when authorities were alerted that the ship failed to arrive in Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital, on January 18.

New Zealand sent a military aircraft to conduct sweeps of the area after being called in to help by Fiji authorities who are coordinating the search.

On Sunday, a New Zealand Air Force Orion located eight survivors drifting in a dinghy. They have since been picked up by a fishing boat.

Searchers are continuing to scour more than 300,000 square kilometres of ocean for survivors.

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