Twelve people are feared dead in Tanzania after the ‘Mapeza’ passenger vessel is believed to have sunk en route from Mbamba Bay in Tanzania to Nkhata Bay in Malawi.
The vessel was last heard from at around 3am local time asking for assistance, according to The Nyasa Times, as it passed through Lake Malawi.
Crew were reported to be asking for rescue as their vessel filled with water due to strong “mwera” wind, a phenomenon caused by wind changing to blow from the south of the lake.
The Nyasa Times reported that, following the Malawian government’s decision to repair the passenger vessel ‘Ilala’, the people of Nkhata Bay have resorted to using largely unseaworthy alternatives to cross the lake.
The government appointed a replacement vessel, the ‘Chilembwe’, but it is very expensive, driving people to dangerous measures, a local policeman told the news outlet.