At least 131 people have been killed in a shipping accident on lake victoria in tanzania, according to authorities. The crowded ship was on its way from bugolora on the island of ukerewe to the neighboring island of ukara on the roughest lake in africa on thursday. The ship capsized just a few meters from the dock, according to the authorities responsible for the shipments in tanzania.
131 fatalities have been recovered so far, transport minister isack kamwelwe told state radio on friday. Professional divers had supported the rescue work. They had arrived in the morning from the port city of dar es salaam and the neighboring region of mara on lake victoria, according to john mongella, the government representative in the mwanza region.
According to initial estimates, more than 300 people were on board, but the exact number was not initially known. Around 100 people were rescued on thursday, according to mongella.
The ride was commissioned in 2014 and renovated just two months ago, according to government spokesman hassan abbas. Among other things, two new engines have been installed. Earlier, a member of parliament had complained that the dilapidated boat posed a risk.
After the accident, tanzania’s president john magufuli declared three national days of mourning. He also called for the arrest of the people responsible for the driving on the day of the accident.
German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) wrote to magufuli: "I would like to express my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to you and the citizens of tanzania."
Pope francis also expressed deep sadness over the disaster on lake victoria. He expresses his sincere solidarity with those who mourn their loved ones and fear for those who are still missing, the vatican said.
UN secretary general antonio guterres offered his condolences to the victims’ relatives, the government and the country’s burghers. The united nations stands in solidarity with tanzania during this difficult time and is ready to support the country if necessary, the spokesman of guterres, stephane dujarric, said.
Lake victoria is located in tanzania, uganda and kenya. Fatal accidents occur again and again on the lake and offshore. Often boats and rides are overfilled, moreover, storms can lead to such disasters.
In 2012, for example, a ship sank on its way from the mainland of tanzania to the tropical island of zanzibar, drowning at least 100 people. Last year, more than 160 people died in a car crash off the coast of zanzibar.