|The Somaliland Times||Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
|ISSUE 52 January 18, 2003||
Over 100 People Feared Dead After Boat Capsizes
Aden (SL Times): Up to 100 Somalis and Ethiopians are believed to have died off the coast of Bossasso after a boat carrying them capsized in sea water. The incident took place on Jan. 4 and its only 23 survivors, which included 2 women, 5 crewmembers, and 8 Ethiopians, were taken to the Yemeni port of Aden several days later on another boat coming from Somalia.
According to one survivor by the name of Mohamed, the boat caught fire on the night of Jan. 4, after sailing only for a short distance from Somalia’s coast.
Explaining how the vessel turned over, Mohamed said, "most people were asleep when the fire broke out in the engine room but as soon as they were awaken, they moved in panic to the front side of the boat causing it to keel over."
The survivor said before the boat left Somalia, he heard the Chief Sailor (known locally as Nakhuda) speaking about problems with his boat during a conversation with the owner of another boat that was to follow the same route later.
"Some of the survivors were picked by this boat," Mohamed added. On of the women rescued lost her 2 daughters after the boat capsized.
According to Mohamed and other survivors, an estimated number of 120 people would-be immigrants boarded the boat on Jan 4 at Shimbirale, a coastal spot near Bossasso where people are assembled before making their trips to Yemen in search of jobs in Saudi Arabia. An amount of $300 is normally charged per passenger, with the boats often in very poor conditions.
On several occasions, Western warships monitoring traffic in the area, declined to offer help to Somali boats in distress.