Another Zanzibar Ferry Tragedy, At Least 24 Dead

By MarEx 2012-11-20 10:43:00

A ferry with at least 280 passengers on board, including foreigners sank off the east African coast of the Zanzibar archipelago today, killing at least 15 people.

The ferry, MV Skagit/Kalama, set sail from the mainland Tanzania earlier in the day heading to Zanzibar – a popular tourist destination.

Reuters reports that 15 bodies have been recovered. However, BBC News reports that 24 people perished during the accident. Navy and police rescue boats and divers were searching for any remaining survivors on the mostly submerged vessel, as dozens are still missing. Only a small piece of the ferry is visible out of the water anymore.

Government officials are still unsure about how many people sank with the vessel, but more than 200 were reportedly on board at the time of the capsizing. Initial reports state that about 145 people have been rescued.

Preliminary reports indicated the vessel sunk after being hit by strong winds and waves. Police claim the vessel was carrying 250 adult passengers and 31 children when it capsized near Chumbe Island, west of Zanzibar.

The ferry is owned by a company named Seagull, which also runs a number of other ferries. Previous reports had indicated the vessel was called MV Salama, according to Reuters.

More than 200 people were killed when a crowded ferry sank in September off the coast of east Africa in the worst maritime disaster in the history of Zanzibar.