- Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 04:10
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporters
- Hits: 2153
- More than 200 missing
OVER 30 passengers have been confirmed dead and over 200 still missing after Mv Skagit capsized on Wednesday afternoon near Chumbe Islet in Zanzibar.
This is the second boat disaster to occur in Zanzibar in less than a year. In September last year, MV Spice Islander capsized near Nungwi, near Zanzibar killing more than 200 passengers.
MV Skagit, which capsized on wednesday about 14 knots from the port of Zanzibar had 281 passengers plus 9 crew on board.
It was heading for Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam. The boat capsized when it got hit by strong winds accompanied by high waves. Zanzibar’s Minister of State in the President’s Office, Dr Mwinyihaji Makame, confirmed that seven passengers had died and that 38 others had been rescued by press time.
The ship had carried 31 children and some tourists whose number had not been established so far. Dr Makame stated that rescue operations were going on involving Mv Flying Horse, Mv Kilimanjaro III, Zanzibar Ports, Special Anti-Smuggling Force (KMKM), Mv Zanzibar I, a police Patrol Boat and a Navy ship.
According to a statement issued by Surface and Marine Transport (SUMATRA) through its Public Affairs Manager, Mr David Mziray, said that the ship left Dar es Salaam around 12.5pm and issued an alert signal a few minutes later after reaching Chumbe Islet.
In his statement, Mr Mziray hinted that Mv Skagit was given a certificate of standards on August 24, 2011 which was to expire on August 23, this year. He further said that the ship was being owned by Seagul Transport company and was registered by Zanzibar Marine Authority (ZMA).
It has capacity of carrying 300 passengers and 26 tonnes of cargo. The MV Skagit was a Skagit/Kalama Class ferry operated by Washington State Ferries (WSF). Along with the MV Kalama, she served on the Seattle-Vashon Island route.
In 2006 WSF was directed to end its passenger-only service, and in 2011 the Skagit and Kalama were sold and transported to Tanzania to provide service between the Mainland and Zanzibar. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) sold the two ferries to Scope Community Consultants Ltd of Port Coquitlam, B.C., for $400,000.