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Fiji Time: 10:47 AM on Friday 25 April

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Drink probe amid search

Nasik Swami
Saturday, December 08, 2012

THE police are continuing to search the four people who went missing at sea last Saturday.

The search entered its sixth day yesterday.

According to the police, the four were part of the seven passengers on board the Yavu Youth that capsized in the Koro Sea.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said as the search continued, the police were investigating the circumstances surrounding the capsizing of the boat.

"Allegations have been levelled against some of those who were on board that they were drinking which resulted in the mishap," Ms Naisoro said.

She said information that there had been drinking on board was made available by one of the survivors in his statement to the police.

"We are yet to question the captain of the boat," Ms Naisoro said.

"The police search continues with the help of boat owners willing to assist and we are in contact with mariners to keep a lookout." In another development, the police have announced they will beef up monitoring of vessels travelling to and from the islands during this festive season.

This is to ensure shipping companies meet requirement rules and avoid overloading of vessels.

Police chief of operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu said the monitoring would be part of a joint operation with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.

"Police will be present at all ports around the country because it's the festive season and a lot of people will be travelling to their villages in outer islands and people will be boarding any vessel possible to reach their destination," he said.

ACP Tudravu said the operation would ensure all vessels complied with MSAF laws and did not compromise the safety of the travelling public.

"We will also ensure that all proper kits such as life jackets are available on board the vessels," he said.

ACP Tudravu has urged all vessel operators to comply with the rules set up by MSAF.