MV Spice Islanders, an overloaded ferry that was carrying around 800 passengers, had capsized on its way from Zanzibar to Pemba Island, which is referred as one of the best places in the world for scuba diving. More than 200 people are reported to be dead and around 550 passengers have been rescued.
The ferry sank into a deep sea area with heavy current, at about 1 a.m. MV Spice Islanders was supposed to carry 600 people. A survivor stated that the ferry was carrying more people than its actual capacity. Another said that some passengers even refused to get onto the boat.
Rescue worker Ali Ramadhan told Reuters at the port that the ferry just flipped and capsized. He also stated that the rescue operation is hampering by the lack of equipments.
Zanzibar police spokesperson Mohamed Mhina told Reuters, “There is a possibility that more bodies still remain at sea. Rescue workers are still searching for survivors and retrieving bodies.”
Many have expressed their anger towards the government officials for allowing the overloaded ferry to leave the port. The government tried their best to prevent the journalists to report the event and even tried to restrict information.
Mohammed Aboud Mohammed, the minister of state said, “We appeal for calm to the public. The government is doing its best it can to handle the situation. There is no need to panic.” Ali Mohammed Shein, the president of Zanzibar declared 3 days mourning for this disaster.