It is with sorrow I write this as my countrymen and women are grieving the loss of another too many lives wasted. My deepest condolence are to those who lost their loved ones.
A word of mouth from the survivors ……..” many of the people who died in the accident are children and women.” Thus, many of the died are going to an early grave.
I write with the realization that it is hard to supervise and monitor all marine and fresh water means of transportation in Tanzania. But, the facts still remain — we should at least have learned our lesson from the MV. Bukoba accident that killed over 1000 people in 1996.
While all this is happening, and after the fact–we hear that the Tanzania government is thinking about creating a “National Emergency Preparedness Task Force”. Don’t we have one already??? This should have been created and/done with — in 1997 after the MV. Bukoba catastrophic accident. Did we learn anything from accident?
In my views I do not see the need for another bureaucratic organ. It is indeed not needed considering the amount of resources available. We do have a traffic police force and road accidents are happening in a daily basis. The issue here is not lack of an organ to rescue people but lack of enforcement of the preventive steps to insure accidents do not happen in the first place. That is what is lacking!
What needs to be done is concentrate more on the prevention side of the preparedness and enforcement of the already established prevention measures such that accidents rarely happens. Having routine ship engine checks, ship body checks, life boat checks, making sure that ships owners adhere to loading capacities of their vessels etc, etc should be the first priority.
Always–prevention is better than a cure and it is cheaper at the same time. Most of the accidents that are happening in Tanzania are avoidable. It’s just common sense. Why do they allow un-maintained, over-loaded-ships to operate on our waterways?
How many accidents will it take for the “senses” to be “common” again?
Maybe ship-owners need to carry high premium insurance for the cargo and human life they waste every now and then. That would put them on notice and on the right path thinking-wise. They need to be taken to court and if found guilty–spend time in jail and pay both the dead and the injured handsomely.
I believe their bottom-line (profits) is merely affected when these types of accidents happens—because when people die due to negligence the people who profit from these types of negligence are not taken to account. This in turn creates no incentive to change what they are currently doing–that is killing indiscriminately in the name of accidents.
It is not Allah or Jesus that kills in most of these accidents, it is just negligence and negligence needs to be seriously confronted.
This accident has happened in the Zanzibar route which is a much safer route than the Mtwara –Dar Es Salaam route. It is quite common for ships in this route to stall (engine actually lose power in high seas) sometimes two times in a one way journey from either Mtwara –Dar or vice versa. Ill-maintained ships, over-loaded passengers and excess cargo are a norm in this route as well.
It is just a matter of time an accident like the one in Zanzibar will happen in this route as well if necessary preventive steps like the ones mentioned above are not going to be taken sooner.
In Pictures: The Zanzibar Ferry Disaster–Source BBC News.
Note: I use the word accident very lightly here as most of these so-called accidents are avoidable.