World Bulletin / News Desk
Rescue workers fought rough seas on Thursday to search for more than 100 people missing after an overcrowded ferry sank near the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, but hopes of finding survivors were slim.
At least 38 people, including an American citizen, were confirmed dead and 145 were rescued after the MV Skagit/Kalama passenger boat capsized on Wednesday around midday near Chumbe island, west of Zanzibar.
The vessel had set sail from mainland Tanzania to the semi-autonomous archipelago, a popular tourist beach destination.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Maisara Grounds park near Zanzibar's historic Stone Town area on Thursday to identify the bodies of victims laid out in a tent.
Tatu Kwiyela, a 35-year-old woman from mainland Tanzania, survived the accident, but lost her nine-month-old son.
"I was swept away by strong waves and lost my son, Saidi Jumanne. I tried to hang on to him but he disappeared into the sea," said Tatu, who managed to identify his remains.
Police said more than 10 foreign tourists, including a group of Dutch holiday makers, were among the rescued passengers.
"One of those killed in the ferry accident is an American citizen. The body has been recovered and is being preserved at a mortuary," Zanzibar police spokesman Mohammed Mhina said.
The ferry, with a maximum carrying capacity of 250 people according to Zanzibar marine authorities, was carrying 290 people, said officials.
"We have recovered seven more bodies today, so the death toll has now risen to 38, with 145 survivors," Zanzibar Police Commissioner Mussa Ali Mussa told Reuters.
"You can say it is not humanly possible to find anyone alive at this point. However, with God's grace the possibility is still there ... Sometimes you can find people alive after a month at sea, so we are not giving up all hope."
Police said rescue workers, who had suspended their search at nightfall, had resumed operations on Thursday to try to recover more bodies or rescue people who might have drifted from the ferry.
"We have boats and a police helicopter looking for survivors, but they are battling with heavy winds and rough seas," said Mussa.
NO SAFETY REGULATIONS
Some of the victims' relatives said they were angry at authorities for lax marine safety regulations, especially after more than 200 people were killed in a ferry accident in September in the worst maritime disaster in the history of Zanzibar.
"The government has killed all these people. They must bring the owner of the boat to us," said Abdallah Sadick, adding his brother was among the missing passengers.
Zanzibar residents said ships plying the Unguja-Pemba route are notoriously overcrowded and there are few, or no, inspections to ensure their safety.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete ordered an investigation into the incident and announced three days of national mourning.
Bani Rushaid told a military judge presiding at a state security court he had not "committed any crime that warranted being held accountable for".
The Doha-based Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr news channel, devoted to covering news from Egypt, said that it was suspending broadcasts from the Qatari capital until "conditions are favorable" for resuming work from Egypt.
Syria approves delivery in hard to reach areas of Aleppo
The truck appeared to have run out of control along a pavement in the city centre shopping area, close to fairground attractions and an ice rink set up for the Christmas holiday
In a new front, fighting spread west of Tripoli close to the oil and gas port of Mellitah, operated by NOC and Italy's ENI
Middle Eastern countries will continue to be world's main oil supplier, says IEA chief economist
Essam Sultan, deputy leader for Wasat party jailed for one year for verbal and physical assault of policeman.
Schools shut as protesting teachers demand the government pass an education bill.
Oil prices increased on Monday after India and China revealed high oil demand for November.
They will discuss a possible military action against Congo-based Rwandan rebels
Iranian parliament speaker has hailed a planned national dialogue in Lebanon between rivals Hezbollah and Sunni-led Future Movement
Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi has won Tunisia's first free presidential election, official results showed, but rioting broke out in one southern city, with police firing teargas to disperse hundreds of youths who burned tyres and blocked streets to demonstrate against the victory of an official from Ben Ali's old guard.
Officials from Sweden’s center-left and center-right parties secretly gather to solve failed agreements on the country’s 2015 budget, local media reports.
Pakistan plans to execute around 500 militants in coming weeks, officials said on Monday, after the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty following a Taliban school massacre.
Brotherhood source says that the group's meetings and conferences were now being held outside Qatar, which is why he believes his residency in Doha won't be affected by the country's recent rapprochement with Egypt.
Ling is vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.