Sunken ferry

Kiribati suspends aerial search for sunken ferry passengers

Maritime New Zealand this morning confirmed the directive which came through the Rescue Coordination Centre in Nadi in Fiji.

Maritime New Zealand's Vince Cholewa says authorities in Kiribati say they will be continuing with several vessels involved in their ocean search.

Mr Cholewa says they will be focusing on the area around where the MV Butiraoi is believed to have gone down with around 88 men, women and children on board.

He says they will also be tracking back along the route the catamaran is believed to have taken from its last port of call at Nonouti Island.

Kiribati confirm more than 80 were on board sunken ferry

The Kiribati government is being heavily criticised by the public for failing to report the boat missing a week after it was scheduled to arrive in the capital Tarawa from the island of Nonouti.

For the last four days a New Zealand P3 Orion has been searching an area of ocean larger than 300,000 square kilometres.

Seven survivors were rescued on January 28 and the search continues for a life raft that was launched from the sinking ferry.