STONE TOWN, Tanzania (AP) — An overcrowded ship sank in deep sea off mainland Tanzania on Saturday with about 600 people onboard, and about 370 people are believed missing or dead.
The ferry, M.V. Spice Islanders, was heavily overloaded and some potential passengers had refused to board when it was leaving the mainland port of Dar es Salaam, said survivor Abdullah Saied. It sank in an area with heavy currents in deep sea between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island at about 1 a.m. Saturday.
About 230 people had been rescued and 40 bodies had been recovered, said Mohamed Aboud, the minister for the vice president's office.
Thousands of residents mobbed the docks of Stone Town on Zanzibar, an island near Pemba, waiting for news. One man was screaming that he had lost 25 members of his family, including his sisters, his wife and grandsons. He was too upset to give his name. Many of the crowd were crying or screaming.
Seven bodies have washed up so far, said witness Abdirizak Juma.
Many of those present expressed anger that the ship had been allowed to leave port so overloaded and called on government officials to resign.
The green and hilly island of Pemba is often described as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.