At least 144 people lost their lives on July 17 when ferry MV Skagit sank at Chumbe islet, a few kilometres from Zanzibar’s Malindi Port, travelling from Dar es Salaam. This was only nine months after another ship, MV Spice Islander, sank off the coast of Zanzibar on its way to Pemba.
A total of 145 people were rescued in this latest tragedy. A survivor told the Citizen that the there was no advance warning. “Just before the accident, the captain seemed to have lost control of the vessel, which tilted to one side before it was pushed by a strong wave to the other side and shortly afterwards it capsized.” Apparently the ocean was very rough, “Even people with experience in the sea testified that the situation was horrifying,” he said.
A few days later the Minister responsible for shipping in the Zanzibar government resigned.