Bodies have now begun to wash up in the area of Zanzibar, an island in the nation of Tanzania, from a boat which has sunk nearby.
Bodies have now begun to wash up on shore on Zanzibar, an island in the nation of Tanzania, from a boat which has sunk nearby. The ship is the M.V. Spice Islanders and it was reportedly carrying 600 people to Pemba island which is a tourist destination off the coast of Tanzania.
Reports noted on FoxNews of 45 bodies being recovered have created bedlam at the port city of Stone Town and as many as 230 survivors have been pulled from the deep sea channel between Tanzania and Pemba.
One survivor is 15-year-old Yahya Hussein who was quoted as saying "I realized something strange on the movement of the ship. It was like zigzag or dizziness,"
Although Hussein survived by clinging to a wooden plank with three other survivors, reports of thousands of relatives mobbing the docks at Stone Town underscore the concern due to the lack of an organized rescue capability from the government. The government of Tanzania has no rescue ships or diving equipment in the area, although it does have a single small boat used for smuggling interdiction activities.
The minister for state from the vice presidents office is Mohammed Aboud, Aboud has been quoted as saying "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,"
Reports of the government attempting to dissuade journalists from reporting the incident have been made by some, while one man who was unable to give his name, claimed he had lost 25 family members including his wife, sisters and grandsons.
Allegations that the ship was disastrously overloaded have been made with some people who had wanted to board the ship for the trip had declined, prompting many to call for greater oversight by the government for the ferry trade.
UPDATE 9/10/11 1900 PST (CBS)
Authorities confirm there are nearly 200 dead in the loss of the M.V. Spice Islanders passenger transport ship between Tanzania and Pemba island. One reporter on scene noted that he had counted 189 bodies, while the President of Zanzibar has announced that at least 570 people have been rescued. That would indicate the boats official limit of 600 had been exceeded by a large margin. Many of the victims are reported to be children traveling with their families.