Ship sinks off Djibouti, killing at least 109

Friday, April 7, 2006

A ship sank off the coast of Djibouti yesterday about 1 p.m. Eastern African Time (1000 UTC), killing 109 people. At least 20 more are reported missing. Reports say that 36 people are currently receiving medical care, and seven are in serious condition.

The ship was bound for the religious festival of Djamaad, in the town of Tadjoura. Built to hold roughly 80 people, it was reported to have been carrying at least 200 people as well as construction materials at the time it sank. Though the cause of the accident has yet to be determined, Ismael Tani, advisor to the Djiboutian President Umar Guelleh, said that the overload probably caused the disaster. Eyewitness Omar Souleiki, however, blamed it on a small wave. Search operations by the Djiboutian, French, and American naval vessels have been called off for the night.