Those conclusions are detailed in a report by the Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the MV Butiraoi, which details a litany of failures that led to the country's worst maritime disaster.
The report was released by the office of the president, Taneti Maamau, on Monday. Until then, it had only been available in hard copy at the president's office or the national library, a move which had been criticised as secretive and undemocratic, with reports of time restrictions and a ban on copying, photographing or taking notes from the report.
The full version has now finally been released to overseas media - including RNZ Pacific.
The following account of the disaster is based on the Commission of Inquiry's final report, a separate report compiled by the Kiribati Marine Division Investigation Team (which was also released this week), and interviews conducted last week by RNZ Pacific with two people familiar with the report's findings.
Mr Maamau's office has so far not responded to a request for an interview.