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PM extends condolences to Kiribati's loss

February 5, 2018 6:01 pm

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has extended the country’s deepest condolences to Kiribati and to those who lost their loved ones aboard the MV Butiraoi.

The MV Butiraoi set off from Kiribati’s Nonouti Island on January 18 on a two-day voyage with 88 people aboard, including 23 children and teenagers.

Authorities raised the alarm eight days later after hearing nothing from the vessel, sparking an international search effort.

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Bainimarama says it’s a particular tragedy for a nation the size of Kiribati and the thoughts and prayers of every Fijian are with them.

The Prime Minister says Fiji stands ready to provide whatever assistance Kiribati may need with the investigation into the sinking as Fiji rendered assistance with the rescue effort.

He says this tragedy has struck a deep chord with Fijians and other pacific islanders and are acutely aware of the vulnerability of everyone adding we must all work together to ensure our means of transport across the seas meet the highest safety standards.

Bainimarama has also extended the solidarity and friendship of the Fijian people and has given his assurance they can always rely on Fiji especially in times of need.

Meanwhile, a dinghy with seven survivors, including a 14-year-old girl, was found last week Sunday, after which rescuers concentrated their efforts on trying to find a life raft that was launched as the ferry was sinking.

The sinking is believed to be the worst maritime disaster in Kiribati’s history and has devastated the island nation of about 110,000 people.

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