Mwanza — The government plans to spend some Sh4.2 billion on a project that would see 10 monitoring and rescue centres established in Lake Victoria.
The construction project, including the Central Lake Coordination and Rescue Coordinating Centre, would be built near Mwanza Airport in Ilemela District that is being implemented through a soft loan of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Briefing reporters in Mwanza yesterday, the director general of the Tanzania Shipping Agency (Tasac), Mr Emmanuel Ndomba, said the centres would be built in Mwanza, Mara, Geita and Kagera regions.
While the Central Monitoring and Rescue Centre is being built in Ilemela District, other stations will be built in Mwanza South Port, Darajani-Chato, Musoma, Mwibara, Nansio-Ukerewe, Kakukuru-Ukerewe, Magarini-Muleba, Kemondo and Ukara-Ukerewe.
“In addition to Tanzania owning 51 percent of Lake Victoria, similar projects are also being implemented in Uganda and Kenya with the aim of increasing the capacity to deal with accidents and disasters within Lake Victoria,” said Mr Ndomba.
According to the Tasac CEO, it is estimated that at least two deaths occur daily due to fishing and shipping accidents on the lake.
Commenting on the operation of the facilities, the acting Registrar of Ships, Mr Alfred Wariana, said all accident reports and disasters would be received at the central monitoring and rescue centre of Ilemela which will be equipped with modern communication equipment. “Upon receipt, the information will be sent to other monitoring and rescue centres for implementation of rescue efforts.”
Mr Wariana said in addition to water rescue equipment, the stations will also have fire engines and communication equipment.
Among the marine accidents in Lake Victoria that have shaken people include Mv Bukoba and the Mv Nyerere ferry.
The Mv Bukoba crash occurred on May 21, 1996 and killed more than 800 people after the ship capsized and sank just a few kilometres from the port of Mwanza. On September 20, 2018, Mv Nyerere ferry capsized and sank a few meters before landing on Bwisya island.
By Peter Saramba and Mgongo [email protected]