More than 200 feared drowned in Tanzania ferry disaster

Blanche Robertson
September 20, 2018

Hundreds of people are feared missing after a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in north Tanzania.

John Mongella, the commissioner of Mwanza, says 37 people have been rescued after Thursday's capsizing.

It went down in the afternoon just a few metres from the dock in Ukerewe district, according to national ferry services operator TEMESA.

While the ferry has a capacity of about 100 passengers, it was said to be carrying more than its capacity, in addition to cargo.

"What we also know from witnesses that the ferry appeared to be overloaded". The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently found to blame.

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The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore between the islands of Ukora and Bugolora.

In 2012, 145 people died in a ferry disaster in Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, in the Indian Ocean, on a vessel that was overcrowded.

In a statement, ministry, through the Tanzanian Electrical and Mechanical Services Agency (Temesa), asked members of the public to be patient amid the rescue operations. However, the exact number of passengers who were in the vessel at the time of the accident was not established. "Rescue efforts are on. we shall soon establish that", said Ms Mwami.

A source told the BBC that despite the fact the MV Nyerere was only built for 105 people, there were more than 400 passengers on board when it sank.

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