Three Charged In Zanzibar Ferry Disaster

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July 26, 2012

The overturned ferry M/V Skagit

Three people, including the Master, have been charged with manslaughter in connection with last weeks ferry sinking off the coast of Zanzibar that may have killed as many 144 people, the AFP has reported.

The M/V Skagit capsized and sank last Wednesday when it encountered some heavy weather while on a typical route from the city of Dar es Salaam on the Tanzania mainland to the island of Zanzibar.  The vessel, a former Washington State Ferry that was certified by the USCG to operate as a 230 maximum passenger only boat, was loaded with as many as 290 passengers when it sank.

AFP identified those charged as owner Said Abdulrahman Juma, Captain Mussa Makame Mussa, and company manager Omar Hassan Mkoje.

Of the 290 passengers, 146 were rescued and 104 have so far been confirmed to have been killed.  A search for the missing was called off late last week.

Last September, more than 200 people died when the severely overcrowded M/V Spice Islander ferry capsized and sank off Zanzibar.  That disaster later sparked a call-to-action from the International Maritime Organization offering assistance in the investigation and help to find ways of preventing such accidents in the future.

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