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Tanzania seafaring passengers stranded
over strong ocean winds and high waves

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Thousands of passengers in Tanzania intending to travel to and from Dar es Salaam in mainland and Zanzibar were left stranded on Tuesday following the cancellation of marine transport services owing to strong winds and waves in the Indian Ocean.

The leading service provider, Azam Marine and Kilimanjaro Fast Ferries company, announced the suspension of the services until further notice, much to the consternation of many would-be passengers, including tourists.

The travel firm said in a statement that it would resume the services only after being given the green light by the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) and marine transport regulatory authorities.

Japhet Loisimaye, Director General of the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation, said an average of 4,500 passengers travel by boat between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar on a daily basis.

According to Loisimaye, Azam Marine and Kilimanjaro Fast Ferries company alone served around 4,000 passengers, while the remaining 500 used boats operated by other companies.

Samwel Mbuya, TMA’s Manager of Weather Forecasting Services, confirmed that the strong winds and waves were likely to continue until Wednesday at the earliest.

Mbuya said periodic winds exceeding 40 kilometers per hour will persist over parts of Tanga, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Mtwara regions.

Last week, TMA issued an alert over impending heavy rains in some parts of the east African nation starting from the second week of November.

Agnes Kijazi, TMA Director General, said the imminent heavy rains were expected to hit western, central, southern western, southern highlands and southern coast.

"Disaster management authorities are advised to prepare a contingency plan as well as budget necessary to cater for any negative impacts that the rains might cause," Kijazi told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Kijazi also urged health authorities to take relevant precautions because there was a possibility of an outbreak of epidemic diseases during the period.

Fourteen people were killed by torrential rains and flooding in Dar es Salaam in April last year.



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