MV Nyerere Capsize

It seemed to be the usual practice to sail with the ramp down.

Speaking of tragedies, it can always get worse. Tanzania is in mourning after the ferry MV Nyerere sank in Lake Victoria on Thursday with hundreds of passengers on board. The vessel went down in a calm sea in protected waters close to the shore of Ukara Island in the southeast of Africa’s largest lake and world’s second largest fresh water lake.

At least 136 bodies have been retrieved Tanzanian officials have said, and scores more are still feared missing as rescuers search for survivors.

Initial estimates suggested the MV Nyerere was carrying as many as 300 people, while only 100 were allowed, when it capsized near the dock in Ukerewe, Lake Victoria’s largest island.

Another official was quoted that the number of people on board the overcrowded ferry was probably 500. Also considerable loads of cement, grain and equipment were stowed on deck. The total comes to about 40 tons. You just have to set off a firecracker and the end is near. What a waste and so unnecessary.

Rescue workers found an engineer to be alive after he had managed to locate a pocket of air in the vessel. The death toll is now over 170. It is believed that about 400 people were on board the ferry.

Classic mistake: Witnesses said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock…

President John Magufuli said it was suspected the captain was not on the boat at the time, having left an inexperienced crew member to pilot it. He ordered the arrest of all those involved in the management of the ferry.

That second image clearly isn’t the Nyerere – I wonder what it is.

You are quite right, it is not the mv Nyerere, I see that now. For one thing the ramp on the bow is missing. I took the dramatized picture from this website. An example of bad journalism you might say.

With Google Reversed Image Search I found that it was a big fishing boat which capsized with migrants between Libya and Sicily. About 650 (!) people were saved by an Italian navy ship that happened to be in the neighborhood which transported them to Porte Empedocle in Italy. At 3000 dollars per person it totals to 1.950.000 dollars. It is a nice profit for the traffickers for a couple of hours of work and an old run down fishing boat.

I will replace the picture.

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Story here:

Italian Navy Photos

Migrant boat capsized in the Mediterranean in 2016, over 500 rescued.

Hint for Chrome users: If you wonder about a picture, put your cursor on it and click while holding down the Control (CTL) key. You’ll get a popup menu, the bottom item of which is Google Image Search. That’ll return all the sites that have a copy.




Overloading pure and simple.

A vessel might get away with carrying two or three times as many passengers as it is certified for under good conditions, but eventually its luck will run out. All it takes is sighting sometime interesting off one side and having most of the passenger crowd that rail for a better look.

Yes, overloading and shifting weight, a deadly combination. Witnesses said the ferry turned over when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock.

What really happened seems to be quite a different story now. The man at the wheel, probably not the captain but an inexperienced crew member, saw that he was, because he was busy with a telephone conversation, about to miss the docking area and made a sharp turn. The rest can be guessed.

People were telling him to stop his telephone conversation and focus on the wheel. As we approached the Ukara dock we saw that he was going on the left of the dock while the disembarking area is in the right side. He suddenly he made a sharp turn,” said Mr Burana in an interviews aired by the state broadcaster, TBC1.

After the sharp turn the vessel ducked to one side throwing out people and cargo and when it pivoted to the other it went down with everyone else in it. I jumped on the water and swam to the shores,” Mr Mpande said.

The ferry even flipped before capsizing when it lost weight at one side.

M/V Bukoba

Only a matter of time before the next one happens.

I am afraid so, especially in the light of the statement made below that comes from the Wikipedia page of mv Bukoba:

Possible causes were identified by Captain Joseph Muguthi, formerly of the Kenya Navy, and writing in the pages of the Daily Nation as a marine navigation consultant. He labelled it an accident waiting to happen, as Lake Victoria ferries disregarded safety regulations. Specifically:

  • lack of life jackets, life belts, and lifeboats;
  • lack of fire fighting equipment;
  • lack of distress signals;
  • what equipment there is, is not regularly checked;
  • overload;
  • the vessels are not regularly dry docked for routine maintenance and repairs;
  • the vessels are not regularly inspected;
  • the coxswains are not licensed to navigate.

It is a true Kamikaze mentality with disregard of human lives.

In addition, the people managing the marine industry have no marine background or any concept of what is required to regulate the industry.


The docking area. Notice the black plume coming from the ship’s engines.

A ship carrying equipment that will help recover MV Nyerere has arrived in Bwisya in Ukara Island with experts from the marine rescue operation team. Special equipment will be used and the hull will be filled with pressured air to make it float on the water. It was said that the recovery of the vessel would also help retrieve some of the goods that were still trapped underneath the ship wreckage.

I would forget about the sacks with cement, grains and bananas, including life stock. Many goods were perishables as people returned from the market.

The death toll has now risen to 151 people. The number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim which should be a must in a lake area. The ship sank only 50 meters, a lazy swim away, from the docking area!

Dutch ferry loading motorized passengers. They also transport vehicles of different kinds up to maximum 10 tons each and a height limit of 3.9 meters, see the warning signs.

Watch the crew member, probably after counting heads, signaling ‘no more boarding’. I suppose that is the way to control the weight on deck. The crew has to take the responsibility for the safety of their ship, ferry or otherwise.

In case you are wondering, these are small motor cycles which donot require a driver license. Probably a motor cycle club on excursion.

The ferry here nearby and shown earlier has been replaced since last Saturday by a new, bigger one which is 4.5 meters wider, has four car lanes of 2.60 meters instead of three of 2.10 meters. Length 39.77 m, loading area 28 meters, beam 14.27 meters, maximum load 132.11 tons, car weight maximum 20 tons, propulsion 4 x 200 pk MAN Diesel. I think that four engines is a bit overdone but that is what the specifications say.

Is that two for each end?

The ship my father commanded had eight engines on two shafts.

Thanks for the enlightenment. Yes, of course that’s it! Mechanically you probably cannot change two engines easily to the forward or aft propellers, hence double engines. Maybe they even have two propellers at each end, the specs don’t tell that. The question is what is forward and what is aft…:slight_smile:

Looks as though whichever set of side lights is lit is the after end. :slight_smile:

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In this picture the ferry looks so tiny, almost like a landing craft, that you cannot believe that there was place for 200 - 300 people plus all the stuff they carried with them. From Ukara Island to the docking place at the other side is about 9 kilometers while the Dutch ferry shown only has to cross a river of about 400 - 500 meters.

The latest death toll is 221 now.

When the skipper has to ask the people standing in front of the bridge to move their heads so he can see out… :wink:

Two days after the capsize another person was found who was, thanks to an airlock, still alive . He is as was described ‘in serious condition’ which is no surprise after such an ordeal.

A couple of not too good screenshots taken from three different Tanzanian TV news programs of the salvaging and surfacing of mv Nyerere.