Mv Nyerere tragedy: More than 200 feared dead in Tanzania
- Credible sources told the Nation that the vessel with 100-pasenger capacity ended up ferrying at least 300 people, the majority traders.
- Besides people, the ferry was spoilt for choice on which cargo to carry and, like passengers, it ended up ferrying more than its capacity.
- Among the cargo were bags of cement and sacks of maize, stock that some of the traders had bought.
Tanzania is in mourning after a ferry christened MV Nyerere sank in Lake Victoria on Thursday with hundreds of passengers on board.
The vessel went down near Ukara Island in the southeast of Africa's largest lake and world’s second largest fresh water lake.
This is what the Nation knows about Tanzania's latest maritime tragedy so far:
— The ill-fated vessel was travelling from Bugorora Island to Ukara Island near Mwanza, Tanzania’s second largest city.
— The Nation Correspondent in Mwanza reports that Mv Nyerere had done brisk business because it was auction day in Bugorora and passengers were aplenty.
— It is not clear how many people were on board when the ferry left the island because the ticketing officer was among those who perished in the afternoon disaster.
— By Friday morning, the machine recording the data and the ticketing officer's records had not been traced as search teams gave priority to finding survivors and bodies.
— However, credible sources told the Nation that the vessel with 100-pasenger capacity ended up ferrying at least 300 people, the majority traders.
— Besides people, the ferry was spoilt for choice on which cargo to carry and, like passengers, it ended up ferrying more than its capacity.
— Among the cargo were bags of cement and sacks of maize, stock that some of the traders had bought in Bugorora.
— The ferry took off well although sources say the weather was quite turbulent and lake waters were rough.
— There was no incident reported to the operator, Tanzania's Electrical and Mechanical Services Agency (Temesa), in the course of journey, officials say.
— According to the operator, Temesa, the vessel toppled over just as it prepared to dock at Ukara Island, Ukuwere District.
— The exact cause of the capsize is not known but sources say it had something to do with distribution of the human cargo.
— BBC reports that “it is thought the overloaded vessel toppled over when crowds on board moved to one side as it docked”.
— By 10pm Thursday, the time search and rescue was called off for the night, the official toll stood at 44.
— However, Reuters and BBC say the death could be more than 200 because of the hundreds who were on board, only 37 had been rescued, the majority in critical conditions, when the search was called off on Thursday.
Search and rescue
— The search was being led by the Tanzanian Navy assisted by small boats operated by private companies and individuals.
— It was called off a few minutes past 10pm due to poor visibility.
— The mission was scheduled to resume on Friday at dawn.