On Tuesday 18 August the Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV) operating from the Royal New Zealand Navy Diving Tender, HMNZS Manawanui formally identified the sunken vessel discovered on 12 August on the seabed as the Princess Ashika.
The ROV identified the vessel by reading the name plate. The water clarity is reported to be very good and this has allowed the team to conduct a good, thorough search of the sunken vessel. One side of the Princess Ashika is obstructed and the ROV is unable to see into the passenger compartment. The vessel is sitting flat on the seabed and appears to be intact.
The ROV has been able to enter the cargo hold and is providing information to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission Investigator. The images attached were gathered during the RNZN ROV mission yesterday and have been released with the permission of the Prime Minister of Tonga.
For the story on earlier efforts to locate the wreck see Navy Diving Team and HMNZS Manawanui in Tongan shipwreck search (external link).