MV Skaggit accident report exposes massive overloading


The report now published on the maritime disaster of 18th July this year, when MV Skaggit went down in the Indian Ocean while leaving Zanzibar, concluded that there were 447 passengers on board and not 290 as mentioned at the time by officials, with cargo also way over the limit of approved carrying capacity.

The ship went down claiming 81 confirmed lives while another 212 went missing and were never recovered from the sea. 154 passengers survived the sinking as a result of a swift rescue action by mostly private boats rushing to the scene.

This accident is one in a long line of lake and ocean disasters suffered by Tanzania, largely attributed to corrupt practices when inspecting vessels and issuing certificates of sea worthiness and by lax enforcement of loading limits for passengers and cargo.

The commission of enquiry spent the last almost three months to fully investigate the accident by interviewing not just survivors but also maritime officials while combing through maintenance and operational records of the company owning and managing the ship. Prosecutions are both ongoing and expected now as a result of the commission’s report, though of little comfort to those who lost friends and family members in the disaster.