The MV Clarias ship, which overturned while docked at Mwanza North Port on May 19, 2024, remains in the water. Despite efforts to retrieve the vessel, it has not yet been fully salvaged. The MV Clarias operates between Kirumba Bay and Goziba Island in Muleba District, Kagera Region, and can carry 290 passengers and 10 tons of cargo.

On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, the Chief Executive Officer of Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL), Eric Hamissi, spoke about the incident. He suggested that the government should form an independent committee to oversee rescue operations and recovery efforts when ships encounter problems at sea.

Hamissi proposed that this standing committee meet quarterly to assess safety strategies for the great lakes. He emphasized the importance of being prepared for emergencies, learning from past accidents like the Precision Air crash and the MV Bukoba sinking 28 years ago.

According to Hamissi, this committee would help identify where rescue equipment is located, ensuring the safety of passengers and vessels operating in Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Nyasa. He reassured the public that water transportation is generally safe and that incidents are rare. When accidents do occur, thorough investigations are conducted to prevent future occurrences.

The Director General of the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (Tasac), Mohamed Salum, confirmed that the investigation into the capsizing of the MV Clarias is ongoing. He hinted that if negligence is found to have contributed to the incident, those responsible would face consequences. Salum also urged maritime stakeholders to follow safety guidelines and employ certified sailors.

Salum mentioned the importance of investing in salvage operations, noting that international agreements often involve private investors rather than the government. He expressed the intention to advise the government on this matter.

Ananilea Mushi, a resident of Nela in Mwanza, expressed her disappointment that the ship had remained in the water for over five days without being salvaged. She called on the government to invest adequately in rescue and recovery equipment. Mushi highlighted the need for a dedicated rescue center in East Africa to ensure timely response to maritime accidents.

Ibrahim Kitano, the Managing Director of Mkombozi Fishing and Marine Transport Limited, suggested that if the investigation finds negligence on the part of the MV Clarias crew, Tasac should revoke their licenses.

In related news, the MV Butiama, which operates between Mwanza North Port and Ukerewe, had its operations disrupted due to the capsizing of the MV Clarias. The capsized ship blocked the turnaround area for the MV Butiama. However, Abdulrahman Salim, the MSCL Public Relations Officer, stated that the MV Butiama resumed its services on Sunday, May 26, 2024, allowing passengers and cargo to travel from Mwanza to Ukerewe Island.

This incident highlights the need for improved maritime safety measures and prompt rescue responses to ensure the safety of passengers and vessels in Tanzania’s waters. The investigation into the MV Clarias capsizing continues, with authorities working to determine the cause and prevent similar occurrences in the future.