8 January 2014

Tanzania: Rescue Team Calls Off Search for Zanzibar Ferry Boat Victims

Photo: RNW
Relatives of passengers missing from the Zanzibar ferry boat.

Zanzibar — THE Zanzibar disaster management team has announced an end to the search for missing ferry boat passengers who fell off the boat last Sunday, but has asked fishermen to continue the search by being observant while at sea.

Zanzibar Commissioner of Police, Mr Hamdan Omar Makame, informed the 'Daily News' that the official search had been abandoned "but we are monitoring with the help of other people, mainly fishermen."

Last Sunday five bodies were retrieved from the sea after a ferry boat, MV Kilimanjaro II, was struck by strong waves while sailing to Malindi port in Unguja island.

After the incident, the boat proceeded to its destination. "We are holding the boat captain for questioning as we gather information before taking court action," said CP Makame. The captain, Nassor Abubakar Khamis, is being blamed for failing to report the accident in good time.

Mr Makame said the investigation includes a number of issues including whether the captain was warned about bad weather but ignored it and whether the crew attempted to help the passengers after the accident.

MV Kilimanjaro II left Pemba port at 8am on Sunday bound for Unguja's Malindi port where it was due to arrive three hours later.

However, it was hit by strong waves and leaned perilously on one side leading to property and some passengers falling into the sea.

The Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) Director, Mr Abdi Omar Maalim said according to the passenger manifest, the ferry had 396 adult passengers and 60 children aboard, "but some people are still complaining that there are some people still missing."

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