The tragic accident occurred on May 21 1996 and nearly 800 people lost their lives in Lake Victoria when the ship that was sailing from Bukoba to Mwanza sank near Bwiru in Mwanza Municipality.
Speaking here yesterday to reporters, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Isack Kamwelwe said the government has beefed up lake transport by accomplishing various projects.
He mentioned the projects as including the renovations of two ships in Lake Victoria – MV Victoria and MV Butiama, construction of a dry dock at Mwanza South Port on Lake Victoria.
He said since the MV Bukoba accident the government another strategy is the improvement to the Marine Transport Control Act while also beefing up water transport safety by having in place inspectors’ offices from Tanzania Shipping Agencies Ltd (TASAC) in all regions bordering large lakes.
“Such inspections ensure all water vessels have adequate rescue equipment that correspond to the number of people in the vessel and passengers are instructed on how to use them,” he said.
Kamwelwe mentioned the third strategy as the improvement to find and rescue operations whereas a centre for such service has been established in Dar es Salaam.
“The government in collaboration with International Maritime Organization (IMO) has built a centre for the coordination of rescue operations at Dar es Salaam port which is managed by TASAC and is working 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said.
The fourth strategy concerned the ports’ infrastructures, which Kamwelwe said the government continues to improve at lake ports and the Indian Ocean for safety.
“The fifth strategy is the improvement in training and awarding certificates to sailors, the government has improved the management thereof under the Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute (DMI) in accordance to international protocol, and whose certificates are recognized internationally and enable Tanzania sailors to work in any ship in the world,” Kamwelwe said.