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French couple went down with 72 other passengers

By Tevita Motulalo NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Taimi Media Network, March. 22, 2011) – In Tonga, a wreath was laid and respects paid by the French Vice-Consul for the memory of the French couple lost when the MV Princess Ashika sank in August 2009.

Vice-Consul Alexandre Raugel was in Tonga last week, on a routine consular visit for French residents in Tonga and to enquire into the criminal trial regarding liabilities for the sinking and deaths.

The couple, Pauline Henry and Sami Chakroun, is among the 74 lives lost on the Ashika’s last voyage, but whose bodies have never been recovered.

Raugel said he has consulted with the Solicitor General ‘Aminiasi Kefu on the status of trial.

He did not comment on the couple’s family’s intentions on whether to pursue claims for their loss.

Officers of the French Frigate La Moqueuse, which was berthed at Queen Salote Wharf at the time, attended the short tribute ceremony.

French Honorary Consul in Tonga Tupou Pasikala as well as the Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mahe Tupouniua was also present.

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