Kirbat, impoverished nation of islands covering an area the size of the U.S.A is dependent on sea travel between islands. passenger ferries are used for travel, supplies, hospital visits, and kids going to boarding school in Tarawa.
The cost, at extreme communication logistical difficulties to get much needed safety equipment and parts is often impossible.
Two weeks ago on January 18th, a seventeen meter long passenger ferry left the islands of, Nonouti for the capital Tarwara on a pleasant two day trip open ocean passage on a calm equatorial sea that turned into a horrific ongoing nightmare of such terror no parent or relative should ever have to picture.
Shortly after departing Nonouti the ship sank leaving eighty eight passengers many of them school kids going to boarding school, in a little life boat or treading water clinging to wreckage.
They could have been rescued within hours except the ferries emergency locator beacon, (EPIRBG), was not working in part because the owner could not afford or locate spares due to the extreme logistical difficulties in time.
Without an EPIRBG it was seven days before the KIRIBATI marine guard was even aware the ferry was missing. Quickly New Zealand, US, and Australia sent planed and ships to help and miraculously found seven alive in a small wooden boat. Sadly for the rest none were found.
There are horrific stories of this happening before, of frenzied sharks attacking and picking off survivors clinging to bits of wreckage one by one in the most horrific way no parent or relative should here. It was so bad, that all the president could say to the nation was "pray".
All hope had had been lost to a most terrible image.
One thing, had all else failed, the eighty eight could have been quickly saved, perhaps within hours with an emergency locator beacon or EPIBRG.
This beacon once activated alerts coast guards around ties around the world within seconds for help to be sent.
It is estimated the cost of this would be eighteen thousand dollars. There are more than three hundred ships, passenger ferries, and the occasional interisland ferry.
Kiribati is one of the few countries that can be called a country of loved, happy care free islands. Though poor in money they are rich in culture and happiness, a web page will be set up for friends to follow their shared power of crowd sourced love and hope, Thank you.
- Allan Gadoury
- Tom and Maria Roberts
- Thomas King
- Jenny Kronick
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