Sunday, 30 May 2010

14 years after MV Bukoba accident: Questions are still unanswered as accidents persist

From The Guardian on Sunday, Dar es Salaam
By Nimi Mweta

Certain sections of the media engaged in spirited discussion focused on where the country stands as the horrendous MV Bukoba accident clocked 14 years.

One reason for the commemorative discussion was to review a book by a survivor of the accident, published a while back, with the late Prof. Haroub Othman writing the foreword to the book, and it was clear its themes are as relevant as they were at the time. It is a sorry tale of the reflex that guides public administration.

One theme that runs through the discussion, and in a way through the book also, though the author is careful not to start raising doubt about the integrity or probity of individuals handling the MV Bukoba steamer (as experts call it, not a ship).

It appears however that many questions would also need to be put across as to how narrow their judgment would have been at the time, and even up to the time of the accident. And worse, it seems that those same lessons that were never learnt at the time haven’t been learnt since those days.

When however one tries to look at the problem technically, that is to say the need to weed out the sources of corruption that lead to oversight in inspection or regulation, routine enforcement of standards or directives on seaworthiness, loading, etc a few problems crop up.

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