ZANZIBAR MARINE AUTHORITY STOPS FAULTY SHIP FROM SAILING FOR PEMBA
It appears that the lessons learned from the disaster of the sinking of the MV Spice Islander last year were learned well when the Zanzibar Marine Authority prevented a vessel, set to sail to Pemba, from leaving port, after the ships safety was called in question over its mechanical condition. MV Skagit was compelled to remain in port following the order being served on them leaving all passengers stranded but safe on shore, though unable to travel without first having their fares refunded, something the company has up to now refused to do.
A source from Dar es Salaam mentioned overnight that the last safety inspection of the ship in late 2011 revealed apparently defects which were cited and ordered for repairs, but with that not done the Marine Authority opted to rather ground the vessel than risk another tragedy on the open sea.
Said the source: Wananchi find it a bit difficult now travel between the islands but it is for their own safety. Ship owners are slow to make repairs when ordered and unlike last year, before Spice Islands sunk, the authority is now under public scrutiny to act decisively. It is the operators to blame for not fixing their boats, but some have claimed that they no longer make enough money when operating within their load limits. In the past they overloaded and got away with it and made a lot of profits but that is now almost impossible to get away with. Even back packer tourists are now frequently asking who safe a particular ship is they want to use and then rather wait for another when they are not satisfied.
Owners representatives were predictably negative about the action and denied that they were in any default but a statement from the Zanzibar Marine Authority tells a different story now whom to believe or is it simply safety must come first. Watch this space.