STONE TOWN, Tanzania – An overcrowded ship carrying at least 600 people sank in deep sea near one of Tanzania’s top tourist destinations on Saturday, leaving at least 45 people dead and some 370 more believed missing or dead. Many of the missing are children.
The ferry, M.V. Spice Islanders, was heavily overloaded and some potential passengers had refused to board when it was leaving the mainland port of Dar es Salaam for an island north of the tourist destination of Zanzibar, said survivor Abdullah Saied. It sank in an area with heavy currents in deep sea between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island at about 1 a.m. Saturday.
“I realized something strange on the movement of the ship. It was like zigzag or dizziness,” said 15-year-old Yahya Hussein, who survived by clinging to a plank of wood with three others. “After I noticed that I jumped to the rear side of ship and a few minutes later the ship went lopsided.”
After the ship began to list, water rushed through the main cabin and stopped the engines, said Mwita Massoud, another survivor.
About 230 people had been rescued and 45 bodies had been recovered, the government said.