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Lalokalosipani News: MV Princess Ashika

Dear All,

I hope i'm not repeating myself, because i managed to get away with reporting this same news to you yesterday in the office during work hours, but it didn't go through which left me baffled why!

And now it doesn't feel the same as i had originally yesterday to share with you some of the news from our city Matahau and our island kingdom.

At the moment here in Tonga we're experience the great loss of the MV Princess Ashika (The Ashika) tragic accident that got itself sunk near the coast of Ha'apai around about after 2300hrs of the Wednesday 5th of August 2009, standard local time. I only get to find it out on the radio yesterday morning while driving to work, having no clue pe ko e vaka ko a 'eni mei fe. Along the road, i learned ta ko e vaka 'eni ne 'omai 'e he pule'anga mei Fisi (Patterson Brothers Company) 'o fakafetongi 'aki e MV Olovaha ki he fe'aluaki fakalotofonua, hange ko e 'alu ki he ongo Niua, Vava'u mo Ha'apai. It hasn't been over two months since The Ashika has floated the Tongan seas. Na'e tapuaki'i foki e vaka ni 'e he palesiteni fo'ou 'o e SUTT during e konifelenisi 'a e siasi. But even then, some people could tell how rusty and old the ferry was though it managed to make a trip to the Niuas which now left my cousin PaulQuinn Ta'ai stranded there for visiting Fr.Pauli 'i Niuafo'ou. But the last trip was aiming just for the Vava'u, and return 'o fe'unga ai mo e hoko 'a e accident. At the moment now our local news update reports mostly male survivors, 28 of them are the crew members (including the captain) and 25 others are passengers (ko e kakai lalahi pe) including one lone female who's a military officer. There has been no other female nor youngsters reported found though all the passengers that boarded before it left Tongatapu were near 50 as recorded, but it is strongly believed as commonly known 'a kinautolu 'oku ski ta'etotongi he vaka, which states the total passesngers only to be over 80, tukukehe ange Kapiteni mo hono kauvaka who were all found alive. Two bodies have been found dead, including a male Japanese volunteer age 70yrs old.

It's a bitter sad feeling for us having to experience such loss, regardless pe 'oku 'i ai ha pikinga fakafamili pe maheni pe 'ikai, but our human spirit sense this great loss has fall upon all of us here in the island kingdom. The search still continues though, pea faka'amu pe na'a toe ma'u ha ni'hi. Survivors have reported 'a e vave 'a e ngoto 'a e vaka around that cold rainy and heavy wave midnight, giving no sense of urgency to rescue the women and children other then their own pea mo'oni ai lau "ko e fe'ofa'aki'akakau". Locals have gathered up prayer groups hono hufekina e fekumi 'oku kei hoko atu, at least kapau pe 'e recover hake e ngaahi sino 'oku kei pulia, where survivors claimed that a lot were falling deep into their dreams he'enau mate mohe, 'ikai ai ma'u faingamalie kenau mateuteu. Our Aussie and Kiwi neighbours are assisting in the search especially diving down deep hoping to find bodies somewhere in the deep, so we all keep our hopes for it.

There's lots of anger no doubt, pe ko hai 'e tukuaki'i ki ai. I just hope this won't get worse.

Anyway, i hope you all are well alive from your respective corners around the globe. So far now, i don't know any relatives of ours ne kau he folau on the Ashika, though i hope not. But keep well.

'Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu hono kotoa

Mei he Lalo Kalosipani News

Ko au Hiko'itaulanga

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