It has emerged that the captain of MV Nyerere ferry wasn’t in it when it capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday, killing over 130 people.
Addressing the nation on Friday evening, President John Magufuli said he has information that the captain left the duty of steering the ferry to a person who was not formally trained for the job.
“The captain is already police custody. I have also ordered that all those responsible for the operations of the MV Nyerere vessel be arrested for questioning,” President Magufuli said in a televised address from the Dar es Salaam State House.
Initial reports indicate that the cause of the accident was overloading, President Magufuli noted, but added that a committee that will be formed immediately will give more details.
“Reports I received show that the cargo weighed far more than the 25 tonnes allowed. There were tonnes of maize, crates of beer and building materials. Passengers also had big pieces of luggage as they were going to an open market,” he said.
One hundred and thirty six bodies have been recovered so far, according to the final official tally given by government officials minutes before President Magufuli’s address.
“But it is obvious that more bodies are trapped in the capsized vessels,” he said, adding operations will continue to ensure all bodies are recovered.
The president announced four days of mourning from Friday and said the national flag will fly half-mast.
He warned politicians against “using the loss of Tanzanian lives” to gain mileage.
“We should let authorities do their job. If you deliver evidence, you should wait until the matter is taken to court [for justice to be delivered],” he said.