Body of Kenyan Seafarer Stuck in Tanzania
“Kenya Won’t Interfere With Tanzanian Laws” – Kenya High Commissioner to Tanzania
On 20th February, 2010 relatives and next of kin of the late Mr Juma Kumbu whose body is lying at the Muhimbili National Hospital Mortuary, Tanzania travelled back to Kenya empty handed. The relatives of the deceased Kenyan seafarer travelled to Dar es Salaam on 16th February to collect the body for burial but they could not afford to pay for transport, mortuary fees, and embalmment charges amounting to Tshs. 2 million.
They went to the Kenya High Commissioner to ask for financial assistance but they were given a cold shoulder by the deputy head of mission Madam Muthoni Mwithiga.
In my presence Madam Muthoni demonized the other two Kenyan seafarers who are still in custody by saying that the High Commissioner cannot visit criminals in Tanzania remand prisons.
She further echoed what the High Commissioner Mutiso Mutinda told the local media in Tanzania recently that Kenya won’t interfere with Tanzanian laws neither interfere in dead seaman’s probe just because a Kenyan seafarer has died in a Tanzanian remand prison.
This is contrary to the services offered by the mission in Tanzania .
Services offered by the mission includes interface with law enforcement and immigration officials in cases where Kenyans get into trouble while in Tanzania .
Given that the High Commissioner has abandoned the relatives of the deceased we call upon well wishers, all women and men of good will to assist them so that they can remove the body from the mortuary for burial in Kenya .
Information indicates that a post mortem was done on 9th February, 2010 we ask the government of Tanzania to provide the relatives and the next of kin of the deceased with Coroner’s report and Post Mortem report. This is per the Inquest Act Cap 24 R.E 2002 Sections 4(I) (C) and 6 (I) of the Tanzanian Laws.
As a sign of good faith we ask the government of Tanzania to allow an independent pathologist carry out investigation and a post mortem.
The late Juma Kumbu and 35 other crew members of a Taiwanese fishing vessel TAWARIQ-1 were in March 2009 captured in Tanzania ’s EEZ for illegal fishing.
The case is coming up for hearing on 11th March 2010.
35 Crew members of FV TAWARIQ-1 and the Mombassa based ship agent of the fishing boat and his friend will on 11th March 2010 appear before Dar-es-Salaam court of law charged with fishing without license against section 18(1) of the Tanzania Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act. Cap.388 (R.E.2002) as amended by Act No.4 of 2007 read together with regulation 67 of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority (Regulations) 2009 G.N.48 of 2009.
The first count on the Statement of offence signed by the state Attorney on 4th May 2009 states that on or about March 8th 2009 they were found fishing 296, 32 tones of fishing valued at Tshs 2,074,240,000 without valid license within the EEZ of Tanzania.
The second count states that on or about 8th March 2009 within the EEZ of the United Republic of Tanzania they exploited the resources and captured fishing without there being agreement with the government of the Republic of Tanzania .
Those in custody are composed of 15 Chinese, 5 Vietnamese, 5 Indonesians, 2 Taiwanese, 8 Filipinos and 2 Kenyans.
They were intercepted by a South African patrol boat some 180 nautical miles off the Tanzanian coast with over 200 tons of Tuna fish.
The crew members and the ship agent currently detained in Keko and Ukonga prisons in Tanzania are suffering from skin diseases and they are in urgent need of medical attention, supply of toiletry, reading materials and prison visit by the port chaplain.
We would be glad if the Dar-Es-Salaam port chaplain could be regularly allowed to visit the seafarers in prisons.
The vessel was found to have both fresh and frozen tuna and tuna-like species as well as fresh offal and other remains cut from fish on board. The vessel has no flag hoisted; radar was switched off; she has no license or permit and port of registry.
Multiple names were found on the vessel; on the superstructure, lifesaving equipment, and the vessel monitoring system transponder and in documents found at various locations on the vessel.
The name No.68 BU YOUNG was found embossed on the port and starboard bows as well as on the stern of the vessel and at the upper part of the wheel house.
On the said locations the name TAWARIQ was painted over the name BUYOUNG to mask the embossed name. Information further indicates that the life-rings, the service record of one of the life-rafts and other documents found onboard bore the name of a Korean fishing vessel No.11 INSUNG.
We are informed that TAWARIQ 1 flies Oman flag and her previous name was ODINE MALAGASY her ex-flag sate was Madagscar.It is said that her last port of call was Mombassa port. Without a hoisted flag or port of registry and without any authentic certificate of registration found on board the vessel it is impossible to establish the true identity of the vessel and the owner of the vessel.
Illegal and unregulated fishing takes away huge earnings estimated at 20% of total catch for Kenya and 15% total catch for both Tanzania and Mozambique.
In accordance to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission resolution 06/01 and 09/03 we humble request the Kenyan, Oman and the Korean authorities to help Tanzanian government in identifying the owner of the vessel so that the court case could be brought into conclusion.
We would be glad if the Taiwanese government and the Sultanate of Omani could tell us the where abouts of a Taiwanese fishing vessel INTMAS-6 and her multi-national crew.
There was actually a fleet of 4 large fishing vessels operating illegally in Tanzanian territorial waters, when TAWARIQ-1 was impounded in March last year.
Upon hearing that their sister ship had been arrested the other three fake named TAWARIQ 2, 3 and 4 immediately left and escaped the dragnet.
Andrew Mwangura , Seafarers’ Assistance Program, Mombasa.
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