Thursday, March 30, 2006
Three fishermen drowned in Lake Victoria and another narrowly escaped after their fishing boat was hit by a cargo vessel. Nyanza police boss Jambeni Bakari said Mr John Odhiambo, Mr Meshack Ondege, Mr Boniface Otieno and Mr David Ouko had gone on a fishing mission off Litare beach in Suba. After fishing for several hours in the strong winds, they anchored their small canoe deep in the lake to wait for a storm to subside. A vessel said to be from Tanzanian hit the canoe throwing the fishermen into the cold waters. All, except Mr Ouko who swam to the shore, were swept away by the strong waves. Their bodies had not been found by yesterday although the damaged canoe was retrieved. Mr Ouko said the vessel stopped briefly then left towards Kisumu port.
Mr Bakari said they were looking for the vessel, adding: "We are working with the port managers in Kisumu to try and authenticate whether any vessel arrived there from the Tanzanian side of the lake when the accident happened." Bodies of three other fishermen were found floating in the lake in Bondo last week after an accident. The East Africa Community (EAC) secretariat, during an extra-ordinary meeting on the Lake Victoria Basin in Arusha two weeks ago, called on Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, to establish maritime safety and security administration units in their countries to curb accidents on the lake. Their recommendations are covered in a special proposed draft legislation known as the Lake Victoria Transport Bill expected to be tabled before the EAC's sectoral council on legal and Judicial Affairs.