TONGA FACING 30 CLAIMS DESPITE FERRY PAYOUT

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Government allocated $3.5 million for compensation

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 13, 2010) – The Tongan Government has committed US$3.5 million from its National Emergency Fund to compensate families of the victims of last year's sinking of the Princess Ashika ferry.

Seventy four people died when the ferry sank during an overnight voyage from the capital Nuku'alofa to an outer island in August last year.

The Government has promised to hand out around US$40,000 in compensation to families if they agree not to file any civil claims against the Government.

The Justice Ministry says so far 27 victims’ families have not filed any civil claims with the Supreme Court and could receive the money as early as next week.

However, 30 civil claims have been made against the Government.

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