Fleet of ferries suspended over safety fears after Auckland boy disappears

The Ministry of Transport in the Cook Islands has detained three inter-island ships belonging to Taio Shipping Limited after a young Auckland boy disappeared from a vessel last month.

The seven-year-old was lost overboard from the MV Lady Moana en route from Rakahanga to Rarotonga. The Lady Moana, along with sister ships Grinna II and Maungaroa II, have all been detained in Rarotonga’s Avatiu harbour by Ministry of Transport investigators, Cook Islands News reports.

Taio Shipping director Josiah Taio confirmed the investigation, saying it was related to some “deficiencies” in the boats detected by the ministry surveyors. Taio said they needed “those items repaired” before they could resume their service.

“It’s a random survey and we can’t ignore the survey report. We are complying with everything,” he said, adding that “it’s normal for ships to have deficiencies. Things always break down. It’s part of the shipping industry, but we are working on those issues and trying to get them repaired soon so that we can resume our normal service.” Taio said repair works on Grinna II and Maungaroa II were 95% complete, and that they would start working on Lady Moana once the other two vessels fully complied with the ministry requirements.