Tanzania rocked by another ferry sinking


A ferry operating on Lake Tanganyika between Tanzania and Burundi has sunk with a at least 8 passengers dead and more than 20 still missing, by the time the information was passed on in the evening from a source based in Arusha. Reportedly there were over 90 passengers and crew on board when the vessels went down in stormy conditions. At least 60 passengers were rescued in what the source called ‘a miracle survival’.

Tanzania has a sad record of maritime disasters, one of the worst being the MV Bukoba which capsized and then sank during a bodged rescue operation in 1994, with some estimates talking of up to 1.000 dead. More recently did ferry sinkings in 2011 and 2012 off the main shore between Zanzibar and Pemba make negative headlines, more so as several went down in relative succession including one, MV Skagit, which was at one stage grounded but where the owners still managed to take her back to sea.

Tourists, often budget travelers, backpackers and adventurers are regularly warned to take extra precautions when using ferries and boats between the mainland and the islands or when traveling from Unguja to Pemba or use any of the lake transport, to get acquainted with the location of life rafts, life vests and access to decks so as to increase their chances of survival in case another accident strikes. No information could be obtained if any foreign tourists were on board the stricken vessel. Condolences are expressed to relatives and friends of those lost during this latest marine accident in Tanzania.

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