News24

Zanzibar charges 3 after ferry disaster

2012-07-25 21:34

Zanzibar - Zanzibari authorities on Wednesday charged three people with manslaughter for the sinking of a ferry last week in which at least 104 people drowned, including the ship's owner and captain.

At least 146 of the 290 passengers on the MV Skagit were rescued when it sank on Wednesday in choppy waters as it crossed from mainland Tanzania to the island of Zanzibar.

Police said last week that there is no hope of the missing passengers being found alive, raising the prospect that as many as 144 passengers may have died.

Owner Said Abdulrahman Juma, 46, captain Mussa Makame Mussa, 49, and company manager Omar Hassan Mkoje, 50, were charged at Zanzibar's High Court with manslaughter.

They were not required to enter any plea, were released on bail, and are due to appear in court again on August 7.

"The death toll so far is 104... out of 290 who were on board," Zanzibari state minister Mohammed Aboud Mohammed said on Wednesday, increasing an earlier toll of 78 bodies found. The bodies include those of two Dutch tourists.

Hamad Masoud Hamad, minister for marine transportation, resigned from his position on Monday.

In September more than 200 people perished when the MV Spice Islander, which the authorities admitted was overloaded, sank while sailing between two of the main islands in the Zanzibar archipelago. Rescue workers saved 619 passengers.