ARUSHA, Tanzania, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people have died after a boat capsized in the Indian Ocean near north-eastern Tanzania's coastal city of Tanga, officials said on Tuesday.
Tanga Regional Police Commander, Benedict Wakulyamba, said that the boat was heading to Pemba Island from Tanga. He said that 28 others were rescued.
He said that the accident occurred at around 4:15 am (local time) Tuesday in an area close to Jambe Island and the boat was coming from Tanga's Sakare Kisera area to Pemba Island.
Wakulyamba said that police were still working on establishing the exact number of passengers on board.
He said that among the dead included five children from one family and survivors were rushed to the Tanga Regional Hospital.
He said that the accident involved a boat baptized as MV Burudan with registration number MV 25512, a property of a Pemba-based businessman.
The regional police chief said that the cause of the accident was yet to be established, though earlier reports said that the boat was hardly hit by a strong wave, hence lost control and capsized.
He urged owners of marine vessels to ensure that their vessels are equipped with safety gadgets.
According to George Magessa, an official at Sahare Fisheries Center, survivors were rescued by people who were fishing near Jambe Island.
Abdallah Hussein Kombo, Director for Zanzibar Maritime Transport Authority (ZMA) said that the boat was registered in Zanzibar and it was meant for cargo and not for passengers.
Kombo said that the boat started the journey to Pemba from the port in Tanga, adding apart from carrying passengers, the boat also carried assorted foodstuffs, beer and other goods including chicken feeds.
He said that the boat had the capacity of carrying only 15.68 tonnes of cargo, but it carried passengers without having safety gears as required by the law. Enditem