EDITORIAL: Lessons from ferry tragedy


Tanzanian rescue workers search for victims on September 22, 2018, a day after the ferry MV Nyerere capsized in Lake Victoria. AFP PHOTO

As the death toll in the Lake Victoria Tanzania ferry accident soared past the 200 mark, the tragedy immediately sparked questions about Kenya’s ferry sector.

More than 250 people died in the 1994 Mtongwe ferry disaster in Mombasa and those harrowing images always return whenever there are reports about ferries stalling while crossing the Likoni channel.

The Tanzanian disaster has been blamed on overloading, which prompted the president to order the arrests of ferry officials.

We hope that Kenyan ferry officials are following the events across the border with keen interest. Questions that abound are whether we have learnt from our past mistakes and if there are proper mitigating measures set up going forward. Are our ferries in good condition to transport people and goods? Are they regularly serviced? Is overloading a thing of the past or does it still recur?

These are pertinent questions that must be addressed even as we mourn with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters. No efforts should be spared to ensure that our ferry sector in in pristine condition so that passengers and goods are transported across the waterways safely.