Tongan King’s Foreign Trip after Ferry Tragedy

  August 13, 2009 at 4:39 am by

There has been criticism in the New Zealand media of the Tongan King’s trip to Scotland recently. The criticism has arisen as Tonga has recently suffered the tragic sinking of a ferry, with many people perishing. At least 149 people were on board, with 54 survivors having being found, and 2 bodies. The number dead is unconfirmed. The ferry was in a questionable condition at the time, and for many days the location of the ship below the water was unknown. The ferry, the Princess Ashika, was located by the New Zealand Navy yesterday, although she is in water 50-60 metres too deep for the New Zealand and Australian Navy divers to reach.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s only comment about the King’s travelling during a time of such grief was that he understood that the trip was a long term commitment, and the Tongan education minister defended King George Tupou, saying that it was an official visit. The public’s reaction to the King’s trip seems to be mixed, with reports that those Tongans at home are not concerned by his absence, yet there have been outpourings of anguish and grief on the internet.

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