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Seaworthiness Questioned

Ferry transport shortage prompts return of previously-banned ships in Tanzania

Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Uganda  Oct 04, 2011

(eTN) - Information was received from a source in Dar es Salaam that the Zanzibari maritime authorities have lifted the bans on two previously-grounded ships, one out of service for several months already, while the second was grounded following the sinking of the MV Spice Islander with the loss of over 200 lives.

Transportation of passengers and goods between the main Zanzibar islands of Unguja and Pemba was subsequently almost impossible, and the cost of travel had immediately increased, too, as the few options available reportedly exploited the situation with no intervention by government to stop the overpricing.

It was explained by the source that officials in Zanzibar had lifted the suspension on the two ships following supposed repairs and an inspection by staff of the maritime authority, mainly with the aim to ease the transport shortage between the islands.

Subsequently, it was mentioned that observers remained skeptical about the level of repairs and the quality of repairs, all of which seem to have been done in a big rush, forgetting the tragedy which had struck Zanzibar only weeks earlier when a possibly unseaworthy and massively overloaded vessel was allowed to sail and then sank halfway into the journey between the islands.

Only last week had the Zanzibar government dashed hopes by the public that a new ferry would be procured, claiming it was beyond the available budget and would have to wait, leaving travelers, both wananchi and wagenis, at the mercy of private operators under a lax supervision regime.

Ferry transport shortage prompts return of previously-banned ships in Tanzania
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