Tanzanian ferry sinks in Lake Victoria, rescue underway

Thursday September 20 2018

The MV Nyerere ferries people between the

The MV Nyerere ferries people between the Bugolora and Ukare Islands in Mwanza, Tanzania. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By FLORIAN KAIJAGE
More by this Author

Scores of people are feared dead after a Tanzanian passenger ferry in sunk in Lake Victoria Thursday afternoon.

The MV Nyerere capsized at around 2pm local time on its way to Ukora Island, two hours after departing from Bugolora, Ukerewe Island, Mwanza Regional Police Commander, Mr Jonathan Shana said.

The ferry is believed to have had hundreds of people on board, though officials are yet to confirm the number of passengers.

No casualty numbers have been given but a local media had reported that five people died and 102 rescued.

Locals joined emergency teams in rescue efforts.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (Temesa), which operates ferry services, said the MV Nyerere did not have any mechanical problems because heavy maintenance had been carried on it in recent months including overhauling two engines.

Officials records show the ferry was purchased in 2004 for Tsh191 million and renovated in July this year.

It has a capacity of 100 passengers and about 25 tonnes of cargo.

MV Nyerere capsizes in Lake Victoria on

MV Nyerere capsizes in Lake Victoria on September 20, 2018. PHOTO| COURTESY

In 1996, in one of the worst maritime disasters, more than 800 people died when MV Bukoba, ferrying passengers and cargo between Bukoba and Mwanza, capsized. The ferry was overcrowded.