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Costs for search and rescue operations in the vicinity of TOP$100,000

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 11/01/2017

The estimated cost for one search and rescue mission at sea is more than TOP$100, 000.00

These expenses include the fuel needed for the rescue boat, the special B3 Orion from New Zealand and staff for the mission.

The Acting Deputy Police Commissioner, ‘Atunaisa Taumoepeau said people should prioritize their lives when navigating at sea.

He urged sea navigators to ensure their fishing boats have all the required equipment.

It is hoped these equipment will help reduce the risks in times of disasters at sea.

This follows many fishing vessels missing at sea and has been confirmed to lack the required facilities such as a beacons, flares, communication devices and life jackets.

Last week Police were able to rescue two missing boats in Ha’apai.

They included the boat Lilite 5 and a boat rescued from Fotuha’a.

The boat from Fotuha’a had 8 passengers on board with 3 children under the age of 10.

The boat was travelling to Pangai, but when it reached the islands of Fotuha’a and Lofanga the propeller went off.

The Rescue Boat ‘Amolua towed the boat to Lofanga.

Marine Division is working closely with the police to educate the locals in the outer islands to ensure all boats exceeding 8 meters long have the right tools.

However a survey will be conducted to enforce the need to reduce risks at sea.

© Radio and Television Tonga News