Africa-Press – Mozambique. At least nine bodies have so far been recovered following a shipwreck on Thursday of a wooden fishing vessel in Memba district off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, with dozens of others still missing.
The head of the Memba administrative post, Suldane Alde, told AIM on Friday that the number of people on board the overloaded vessel is yet to be established, but they were mostly women, including the nine bodies already recovered who were sailing to an island where they often go to fish.
“The vessel was ferrying a number of people which has not yet been accurately established, but the truth is that on the beach we found nine lifeless bodies and they were all women. We found out that among the survivors there was a man, plus two women, who were immediately taken to the health centre,” he said.
However, authorities on the ground claim that 13 people are still missing and their relatives assume that they are among those who drowned.
“But the precise number will be updated, as eyewitnesses claim that the vessel was carrying between 50 and 60 occupants. Rescue efforts are underway and specialist teams from Nacala Port will assist us,” Alde added.
He added that residents from the Baixo-Pinda area often sail to the nearest island when the tide is low, and return to the mainland as soon as the weather conditions change.
“But when there were sudden strong winds, the wooden vessel could not stand the waves and unfortunately capsized,” Alde said.
The Memba district Permanent Secretary, Luisa Cunasha, expressed regret for the tragic incident and pledged to take measures, which she did not disclose, as soon as more and detailed data about the shipwreck is made available.
She added that the government is following the situation attentively and awaiting detailed data from the rescue efforts now under way.