Uganda boat which sank was unregistered and unlicensed, says Museveni

Sunday November 25 2018

Local fishermen and Ugandan Navy personnel search passengers of capsized cruise boat on lake Victoria at Mutima village, Uganda on November 25, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI | AFP


The Ugandan cruise boat that capsized Saturday evening on Lake Victoria with more than 100 revellers on board was unregistered, President Yoweri Museveni said on Sunday.

“According to preliminary information from the security services, this, apparently, was a private, unregistered, unlicensed and maybe uninsured boat," President Museveni tweeted.

He said the vessel was carrying more than twice its capacity of 50 when it sank.

“It seems the boat was overloaded because whereas it had capacity for 50 people only, it had about 120 passengers on board, who also seemed to be partying with a lot of music,” President Museveni said.

The president added that “the operators of the boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter.”

The ill-fated boat went down in Mpatta Sub-county in Mukono District, about 30km east of the capital Kampala.


The boat owner and his wife were among 30 people that died in the accident.

Asuman Mugenyi, director of operations for the police said overloading and bad weather were likely to blame.

"We suspect the mechanical condition of the boat and the weather contributed to the sinking," Mugenyi said.

Recovered bodies were taken to Mulago Hospital mortuary in Kampala for post-mortem as rescue efforts continued.

In September an overloaded MV Nyerere passenger ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, off the Tanzania coast, killing over 200 people.

It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.

In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.

—Additional reporting by AFP