Kiribati ferry tragedy that killed 95: Probe finds crew was drunk, vessel had structural issues

NEW ZEALAND : An inquiry has found the crew of an overloaded ferry that sank near the Pacific nation of Kiribati last year, killing 95 people, was drunk and the flimsy catamaran was not licensed to carry passengers.

Only five passengers and two crew members of the 102 aboard survived the fateful journey of the MV Butiraoi ferry.

The 57-foot wooden catamaran departed Nonouti Island bound for South Tarawa on January 18 and began to fall apart 30 minutes later. It sank after two hours.

Commissioned by the Kiribati government, the report revealed rampant alcohol consumption by the master and crew during working hours, “giving every drunken crew (member) the feeling of grandeur and power to make decisions alone.”