On 18 July the ferry MV Skagit was reported to be sinking off Chumbe island. The EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR) immediately redirected a Luxembourg Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), which was conducting counter-piracy patrols closest to the location of the sinking ferry, to Dar es Salaam. From there it conducted several sorties in support of the rescue efforts.
Using the aircraft’s capabilities, rescue efforts were coordinated, life rafts spotted and their location tracked. With this support, Tanzanian and other vessels taking part in the rescue mission were guided to the life rafts exact locations, aiding the rescue of reportedly 145 of the ferry’s passengers.
The ferry was traveling from the capital city of Dar es Salaam, on mainland Tanzania on Wednesday. EU NAVFOR cannot confirm the numbers, but reportedly 290 people were on board. While the search still continues, bad weather hampers the rescue.
Source: EUNAVFOR, July 20, 2012