Tanzanian fisherman dies, colleagues rescued after canoe capsizes

Fishermen row a boat in the Indian Ocean. Three Tanzanian nationals have been rescued and taken to safety after their canoe capsized in the Indian Ocean in Kwale County.

Three Tanzanian nationals have been rescued and taken to safety after their canoe capsized in the Indian Ocean in Kwale County.
One body of a man believed to be part of the team was also retrieved from the ocean waters.

According to the police, the trio of Hafith Abdallah, Musa Silima and Silimani Zidini were noticed by a team in a cargo ship tens of nautical miles off Kenya’s Coast.

Police say that a captain of the cargo vessel christened MV Ince Atlantic spotted the fishermen and reported the incident to the staff manning control tower at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

The crew of the vessel rescued them and gave them food, clothing and shelter and transported them for evacuation by Kenyan authorities.

“Mid through their voyage their canoe came under a torrential storm accompanied by strong tidal waves and swept it off, tossing the fishermen into the raging waters,”  a police report reads.

After questioning, the fishermen revealed that they had been floating at sea for three days holding on to their canoe until Monday when they were rescued by the crew members of the ship.

They are said to have set sail from Zanzibar, at a place called Tanagani in Pemba.

The Tanzanian consulate was informed about their rescue and efforts are currently underway to have them repatriated back to their homeland.

Lunga Lunga police boss Peter Nzimbi said after the alert, his officers and other rescue teams conducted an operation and apart from those rescued, a body was retrieved suspected to be part of the team.

“We are closely following up the matter and we suspect the body which was picked by Ukunda police was one of the fishermen who were rescued. We cannot give more information as the rescue team is compiling a detailed report,” said Mr Nzimbi.

According to the marine forecast for the Kenyan coast released by the Kenya Meteorological Department, North-Easterly winds are expected over Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia waters with wind speeds of 10 to 30 knots (5-15 m/s) for a period of 7 days.

The forecast report also shows that wave heights of 0.6-2.4m (2-8ft) are expected throughout the forecast period.

Kenyan fishermen along the Vanga-Shimoni-Diani coastal strip have said they are yet to get information regading the fishermen.

"If they were one of us (Kenyans) we would have quickly noticed that they had gone missing and the search mission would have been launched," said Shimoni Beach Management Unit Chairman Rishad Iki.

Feruz Mohammed said it is possible for fishermen to survive within the waters for a period of three days.

"We are grateful that they were rescued. Surviving in the deep waters is not easy. Maybe they had life jackets, or held on to other floating materials hoping for the best," he said.

Additional reporting by Kevin Mutai.