Zanzibar Minister for Infrastructure and Communication Mr Hamad Masoud Hamad has tendered his resignation letter to President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, who accepted his decision.
The secretary of the Revolutionary Council, who also served as Chief Secretary Mr Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee confirmed that the minister had resigned.
“On July 20, the minister for Infrastructure and Communication, Mr Hamad Masoud Hamad, wrote to Zanzibar President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council Dr Ali Mohammed Shein asking him to step down following the Mv Skagit accident, which occurred on July 17,” reads part of Mr Mzee’s statement to members of the public.
Following the resignation, Dr Shein has appointed Ziwani Representative Mr Rashid Seif Suleiman (CUF) to replace him.
According to the chief secretary’s statement, the appointment took effect on Monday. Meanwhile, President Dr Shein has formed a committee to investigate the Mv Skagit tragedy.
The committee, which will be chaired by Judge Abdulhakim Ameir Issa, comprises Maj-Gen S.S. Omar Hassan Mussa Mzee, Capt Abdulla Yussuf Jumbe, Capt Abdulla Juma Abdulla, Salum Taoufiq, Capt Hatibu Katandula, Ms Mkali Fauster Ngowo and Ali Omar Chengo. Mr Shaaban Ramadhan Abdalla will serve as its secretary.
At least 144 people are presumed dead in the accident, which occurred only nine months after another ship, Mv Spice Islanders, sank off the coast of Zanzibar on its way to Pemba in September last year.
A total of 145 people were rescued from the ship, which carries 290 people and 73 bodies have been recovered so far. The ship capsized few kilometres at Chumbe islet, few kilometres from Zanzibar’s Malindi Port travelling from Dar es Salaam.
Accounts of some of the survivors of last Wednesday’s Mv Skagit accident show that there was no advance warning of the accident, which hit Mv Skagit on Wednesday afternoon.
Some survivors told The Citizen here that just before the accident, the captain of the ship seemed to have lost control of the vessel, which tilted to one side before it was pushed by a strong wave to the other side and shortly afterwards it capsized.
One of them, Mr Hassan Khatib, said since they left Dar es Salaam at noon, the ocean was very rough. “There were strong winds and high waves. Even people with experience in the sea testified that the situation was horrifying,” he said.
He noted that the situation worsened, when they arrived at Chumbe islet as the area had even high waves and strong winds pushed the ship uncontrollably.
“The vessel lost direction and it sank as a result… it first tilted to one side. When it turned on the other side I was thrown into the water together with many other passengers,” he said. He explained that despite the rough seas, there was no warning or any alert from the captain or other crew about the impending danger.
Mr Khatib said also that many people would have been rescued had the assistance come on time. “We scrambled for about two hours before we saw the first rescue team. By then many people had died… we witnessed many people, who could not swim die,” he said.
He said after the accident, an aircraft came and after making a round it left and two hours later the rescue teams arrived. “But I am thankful that I have survived,” he said.
Another survivor, who preferred anonymity said the crew did not give them any information on the situation. “We were not told about the danger we were facing or how we can save ourselves in case of any accident… many people were trapped inside the ship when it capsized,” he said.
One of the rescuers said they arrived at the area when the ship was still sinking. “There were some rescue facilities, which helped us save few people,” he said.
Source: Daily Nation.