Sumbawanga — NKASI District Commissioner (DC), Mr Iddy Kimanta has directed the Surface and Marine Transportation Authority (Sumatra) in Rukwa Region to routinely supervise marine vessels plying on Lake Tanganyika so as to curb unnecessary accidents.
The DC said that most of the accidents occurring on Lake Tanganyika are due to recklessness of marine vessel owners who refuse to observe safety measures.
Mr Kimanta was reacting following the grisly incident where a boat christened "Yarabi Tunusu" property of Hamisi Msiwa, a resident from Kalungu village along the shore line of Lake Tanganyika in Nkasi District capsized on Friday and several passengers are reported to have gone missing.
According to the DC, the boat which was heading to Burundi from Mpilinga fishing village at Ninde ward, along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Nkasi District with 90 passengers on board, was overloaded with several tonnes of merchandise including 55 tonnes of fish and several bags of dried cassava.
Mr Kimanta further told the "Sunday News" over the phone yesterday that most of the passengers who were travelling on ill fated boat were from small fishing islands along the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Nkasi District including Twiyu, Kalungu, Mvuna, Nkanga, Mandakelenge and Utinta.
Mr Kimanta who also doubles as Defence and Security Committee chairperson in Nkasi District, hinted that the boat left Mpilinga on January 2 heading to Burundi. "I received a report from Kigoma Region that nine passengers died while 12 are feared drowned in Lake Tanganyika and 64 are reported to have been rescued.
Mr Kimanta cautioned residents living and fishing on the Lake to be extra careful while travelling by boat during the months of January and February, as the weather is unpredictable.
The DC also urged the residents in the district particularly those living on the shore line to abide by whether forecast, reminding the warning issued recently by Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) over impending heavy rains and strong winds between now and March, this year.