The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Lake Tanganyika Disaster: Ten Persons Missing as 17 passengers rescued from shipwreck

A total of 17 people believed to have been passengers aboard the ill-fated ship christened Maman Benita which sank in Lake Tanganyika, have been rescued.

But reports say more than 10 other persons are still missing, among them a small child, all feared dead.

The MV Maman Benita ferry had left the Kigoma Port on the Tanzanian side of the lake on Saturday, April 6 sailing towards the Kalemie harbour in the Democratic Republic of Congo with nearly 30 people on board.

However, the ship went underwater in the early hours of Sunday, April 7, 2024 just as it was approaching Kalemie on the DRC side.

Fishermen managed to pull one Chinese citizen out of the water that Sunday Morning, he apparently could somehow swim.

Strong monsoon winds coupled with what fishermen described as huge water waves are suspected to be the cause of the ship sinking though official reports from port authorities to that effect, are yet to be released.

Tanganyika is the deepest Lake on the African Continent. It is shared by Tanzania, Zambia, DR Congo and Burundi.

The Tanzania Shipping Agency Company (TASAC) stated that the Maman Benita vessel was registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo under the ownership of ‘Establissement Maniman,’ firm.

The nationalities of passengers who have so far been lucky enough to be rescued include, Two Chinese nationals, Three Tanzanians and 12 Congolese nationals, among them the ship captain.

The ship had set sail with more than 26 people on board among them 16 Congolese, 4 Chinese, 5 Tanzanians, One Kenyan and a small child, according to the manifest obtained from the port of departure.

However it is normal for ships and boats plying on Lake Victoria to pick up more passengers en-route either from local canoes, dhows or nearby villages located on the lake shores.

With that in mind therefore it is not possible to determine for sure how many people could have been aboard the vessel when it reportedly capsized and sank before calling on the port of Kalemie in DR Congo.

RELATED: Lake Tanganyika Ship Disaster: Several passengers missing

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