Analyzing Mv. Spice Islander’s Investigation Report in Light of the Mv. Nyerere Ferry Sinking in Mwanza Region of Tanzania.


According to the report, “MV Spice Islander” had a maximum human loading capacity of 600 passengers. However, at the time of its sinking, it was carrying 2470 passengers. That is four times the maximum allowed. Further reports says, 941 passengers survived, 203 passengers lost their lives and 1326 passengers are still missing. I’m saddened by the magnitude of human loss.

The report further states, the cause of the accident was “severe levels of negligence.” Nine (9) people have been arraigned in connection to the accident. The dead and survivors of this accident will be compensated at a rate of Tshs 125,000 for 80 months which is equivalent to Tshs 10,000,000 per person.

The suggested figure is what I have issues with.  I feel like the figures are too low and will not work as a deterrent for future man-made accidents. My understanding is that human life is priceless. To save it, stiffer penalties must be imposed as a deterrent.

My questions are:

  1. Why payments are based on the basic salary levels?
  2. What made the commission to assume that all these people were going to die in the next 6 years and a half (80 months)?
  3. Why not use established income earning potentials for each of the passengers and life expectancy figures to figure out the payment?

This was an opportunity to severely punish those involved so that it will be a lesson to them and for others currently benefiting from this kind of behavior. Don’t let this incident be another missed opportunity like MV Bukoba. This should be a wake up call to shipowners, bus owners, and everyone involved in the transportation business. They needs to understand that “if you cause an accident due to negligence” leading to a loss or loss of lives; severe consequences will follow. The “kazi ya mungu” excuse should not be be the norm.

Once a person purchase a ticket, it’s a contractual agreement between the two parties and that the latter will transport the former safely from point A to point B. These contracts need to be honored. Maybe in the future (“that means now”) the government could implement a system that forces bus, ship and any kind of transportation business owners to declare the insurance value of a passenger and luggage on the back of the ticket in case an accident happens.

My belief is that if the owners are subjected to stiff penalties whenever accidents happens and are starting to see that their profits are being eroded; they will make sure that accidents due to negligence will not be a daily occurrences in Tanzania. To make them change their minds and put safety measures before profit, you have to hit them where it matters most—profits.

In addition to a deterrence on the part of the ship, buses, and any-other type of transportation owners. Citizen awareness campaign regarding overcrowding in public transportation needs to be carried out. It seems people are not learning from these incidence. More campaigns on road safety and problems associated with overcrowding are severely needed.

I will end you with this, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.”

The Killing shall continue……..

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