Ferry accident on Lake Tanganyika the latest in long list of marine disasters

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(eTN) – A ferry operating on Lake Tanganyika between Tanzania and Burundi has sunk with 9 passengers dead.

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(eTN) – A ferry operating on Lake Tanganyika between Tanzania and Burundi has sunk with 9 passengers dead. Seven of the dead were identified as Mzinga Kandoro who was a teacher at Filbert Bayi Primary School in Dar es Salaam; Mary Kawaya and Shami Baba alias Mama Baba, both residents of the Nkasi district; a person nicknamed Wa Mjini, a Burundi national; Sarah Joseph and Mama Seba, both residents of Karungu in Nkasi district; and a child identified as Shadrack Amyashi.

More than 20 were still missing, by the time the information was passed on Saturday 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 botched rescue operation in 1994, with some estimates talking of up to 1,000 dead. More recently ferry sinkings in 2011 and 2012 off the main shore between Zanzibar and Pemba made 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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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.