SHIPPING CASUALTIES : INDIAN OCEAN (1986 – 2003)

Between 1986 and 2003 a total of 67 East African Seafarers have lost their lives in the shipping casualties such as ship fire and foundering of 24 local owned / managed ocean –going vessels while in their line of duty a long the Indian Ocean. 

It hurts very much to note that none of the relatives of the Seafarers have been compensated for the loss of life neither for the loss of belongings of the deceased. 

It beats reasons as to why? Since 1990 up to-date the findings of the inquiry of the MT Harrier have not been published nor revealed to the relatives of the six (6) deceased crewmembers of the ill-fated vessel. 

It also annoys very much to state herein that since 1999 a case has been pending at the Mombasa Law Courts without proper reasons. 

The case was filed by former crewmembers and relatives of three deceased crewmembers of the MV Acor, which sank on the 23^rd May 1999 off the Mozambican Coast 14 nautical miles Eastwards of Cabo Del Gado. 

The ill-fated vessel foundered following the collision occurred between her and a Mauritius flagged cargo ship MV Salango. 

The crewmembers of the vessel were comprised of a Ugandan, 3 Tanzanians, a Seychellois and 9 Kenyan Nationals. 

Those who lost their lives in the sinking were 2 Kenyan Crew, Chief Engineer Arif Mwachatamu and 2^nd Engineer Steve Kibergen. Capt. David Mugalu, Ugandan is missing and his body has never been recovered. 

Those who lost in the foundering of MT Harrier were Capt. Justus Tumwikyirize a Ugandan and 5 Kenyans, Simon Mutunga Kasoma, Hannington Kululu Chitoro, Mwakunya Hamisi Mohamed, John Mwasaha Chula and Awadh Abdul Hamisi. The ill-fated MT Harrier sank mysteriously while under way from port Mombasa to the Indian Ocean Island of Zanzibar. Laden with 20 tones of food provisions and Bentonite to deliver to a construction site in Pemba, Tanzania. Strangely, with all these shipping casualties with heavy lose of life none of them appears on the IMO’s casualty report as required by article 8 and 12 of the International Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention. 

The SOLAS regulations require that each flag state undertake to investigate casualties and report to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The casualty report must feature in the IMO’s casualty analyses documents published by the sub-committee on flag state implementation.

The absence of proper accident investigations and documentation in circumstances similar to the MV Acor and MT Harrier by the flag sates of the ST. Vincent and the Grenadines and Panama respectively is a dereliction of their duty to the Seafarers under their flags and to wider maritime Community. 

As this is a serious violation of Seafarers’ rights we call upon the Kenyan Minister for Justice and constitutional Affairs Hon. Kiriatu Murungi to intervene so that: - 

1.

The relatives of the deceased crewmembers of MT Harrier could 
obtain a copy of the report of the inquiry held 15 years ago at 
the Coastal Town of Mombasa under the Chairmanship of Justice 
Emmanuel Okubasu.

2.

The pending case of the MV Acor at the Mombasa Law Court could be 
heard urgently because Justice delayed is Justice denied.

3.

The former crewmembers of MV Acor and relatives of the deceased 
could not be short-changed in the South African high Court. For, 
we are informed that the owners of the vessel have filed a case 
(No. A130/1999) in South Africa set to be heard at the Durban High 
Court on 18^th to 29^th October this year (2004).

The ship owners are claiming for US$ 913,000 for the cargo, loss of 20 x 32 full and 20 x 72 empty containers, repatriation expenses of the survivors from South Africa to Kenya, loss of fuel, Air Compressor, loss of life of three Seafarers and travelling expenses for the ship agent to and from South Africa. 

The value of the vessel is said to be US$ 350,000.00. 

Ocean going vessels involved in the Shipping Casualties during the said period includes: - Benta Dania, Aventure, Angel, Acor, Alpha-K, Alpha Challenger, Alpha Commander, Juliana, Mint Prosperity, Morea, Harrier, Ramora Bay, Ufunguo, Ujuzi, M/S Mtwara, Odyssey, Mama Otan, Tofaa, Bateleur, Amaphi-1, Praslin Reefer, Bahari Kubwa, Reef Island, MT Ally II.

Andrew Mwangura

Programs Coordinator

Seafarers Assistance Program


Andrew Mwangura 
P.O. Box 92273 
Mombasa,80102 Kenya. 
Tel: 00254 41 312058 
Cell:00254 721 393458 

Fax: 00254 41 230001 

E Fax:18014093908