Mystic case of
tug-boat still unsolved after 16 years
Press Statement by SAP
Sixteen years have now passed since the Panamian registered
tug-boat MT Harrier dissappeared without trace in the Indian Ocean
near Zanzibar and with it a crew of six .
The vessel left the port of Mombasa on August 5^th 1988 laden with
provisions and 20 tones of cement to deliver to a construction
site in the Indian Ocean Island of Pemba, Tanzania.
On board the vessel were a Ugandan Capt. Justus Tumwikyirize, and
5 Kenyan Seafarers namely Chief Officer - Simon Mutunga, Engineer
- Hannington Chitoro, Mwakunya Muhamed - the bosun, John Chula –
the greaser and Awadh Hamisi - the Cook.
Their fate todate has yet be decided and despite a Commission of
Inquiry under Justice Emmanuel Okubasu having sat for almost a
year , their report has yet to be made public .
It is for this reason that relatives , friends and dependants of
the deceased crew member would like to ask the Government of Kenya
to do the following .
1. Make the findings of the Okubasu Commission of Inquiry into the
disappearance of the Harrier public so that the relatives and
dependants can plan their next plan of action
2. Explain the criteria that was used by the Shipping company that
owned the Harrier to give some token payments before the expiry of
the legally required seven years period
3. To explain whether there are other payments accruing to the
parties and when and how they will be settled
4. To explain why this matter has been shrouded in so much secrecy
and if there are elements of negligence or omission by any of the
parties and what action will be taken against them
Presently , the widow of the Captain of the vessel Mrs. Hamida S.
Tumwikiyiza is lying in hospital after under-going a major
operation whose costs she has to meet despite her husband having
died on active duty .
Together with members of her family and the under-signed
Sea-farers Association , we are asking the Minister of Transport
and Communication who initiated the Commission of Inquiry to
proceed with haste and tell us and other Sea users what is the
status of the matter .
Kenya is a signatory of major conventions relating to sea-farers
and it would be morally obliging to take actions that are in line
with internationally recognized codes of conduct in relation to
those who work in maritime environments .
Andrew Mwangura - Programs Coordinator Seafarers Assistance
Hamida Suleiman - Widow of Capt. Justus Tumwikyirize
The Relatives of the seafarers