East Africa: At Least 94 Killed In Mozambique After Unlicensed Ferry Boat Sinks

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ADRIEN BARBIER A fishing boat floats off the shores of Ilha de Mozambique, on June 12, 2015. A hundred years ago, Island of Mozambique was once a crown jewel of the Portuguese empire in East Africa. Neglected after the capital of the colony was transferred to Maputo in 1898, it is now experiencing a renaissance with a new wave of international investors coming in and refurbishing ruins. Tourism is still burgeoning, so the local population, highly impoverished, continues to make a lively hood by fishing. AFP PHOTO/ADRIEN BARBIER (Photo credit should read ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
11:36 AM – Monday, April 8, 2024

A makeshift ferry boat sank off the northern coast of Mozambique over the weekend, killing at least 94 people, many of whom were children, according to local officials.


On Sunday, a ferry boat sank off the northern coast of Mozambique, taking the lives of at least 94 people, including minors, and leaving 26 more missing, according to a representative of the Maritime Transport Institute (INTRASMAR) of the nation.

According to INSTRASMAR administrator Lourenco Machado, the boat was an overloaded fishing vessel that reportedly did not have a license to carry and transport passengers. The boat had been carrying 130 people.

On Monday, Machado made an announcement on state television.

“On Sunday we registered a maritime incident where at least 94 people died when a barge carrying 130 people capsized. We have recovered 94 bodies and 26 are missing,” Machado declared.

The boat capsized between Lunga and the Island of Mozambique, which is a part of the Nampula province off the northern coast of Mozambique, according to Machado.

Additionally, 26 individuals are still unaccounted for as rescue operations continue on Monday.

Machado added that the initial reports suggested that the boat was “struck by a tidal wave.”

According to local outlet TV Diário Nampula, some of the passengers on the boat were heading to a fair, while others were trying to escape from Lunga to Mozambique in order to avoid contracting cholera, which has been impacting the area recently.

The BBC reported that Jaime Neto, the secretary of state for Nampula province, claimed that false information regarding a reported cholera outbreak drove more people to panic and board the boat.

“Because the boat was overcrowded and unsuited to carry passengers, it ended up sinking,” Neto explained to the outlet, highlighting that many who died in the tragedy were children.

Menque Amade, a crew member who survived the incident, told TVM, a national network, that “water filled the boat… and the tragedy happened”. Shortly afterwards, numerous dead bodies lying on the beach can be seen in pictures online.

A cholera outbreak that has affected Mozambique and the neighboring southern African nations of Zimbabwe and Malawi in recent months is now being contained by officials. Since Mozambique has a poor road system, many of its regions are only reachable by boat. Some of its regions are inaccessible by land or air.

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