Uganda: Security agencies hunt for killer boat captain

Kampala. Security agencies are hunting the captain (coxswain) of the MV Templar that capsized on Saturday night, killing more than 30 revellers.

Officers from police and Internal Security Organisation in Mpata Sub-county, Mukono District, believe the coxswain hails from Muzindeere Village in the same sub-county but his fate or whereabouts had not been established by last evening.

He was not among the survivors or the dead whose bodies have been recovered.
Ms Zurah Ganyana, the spokesperson for the rescue and recovery operation, said they were yet to identify the coxswain and said he is a person of interest in their investigations.

“We are still struggling to get his real names. We do not know him. Anyone who knows him should inform police,” Ms Ganyana said yesterday.

The sunk boat’s coxswain is said to be operating around Ggaba Landing Site

. He replaced his colleague, who declined to steer the boat, saying it was not fit to sail. Both are on the run.
If the two are found, the police will be able to understand how the ill-fated boat was managed.

Residents said the missing coxswain was neither trained nor the usual driver of the boat, which had been grounded for months due to mechanical faults before the fateful day.

Hardly known
He would only be hired on part time basis as and when the need arose. His name is also not known as he was only known by various nicknames and aliases.

Nearly all particulars on this coxswain’s training, background, experience or competence are obscure.

Ms Irene Namubiru, a renowned artiste, said in her social media post yesterday that the coxswain and his crew jumped out of the boat and escaped leaving the passengers at God’s mercy before the boat capsized.

“It was known that this boat was always faulty and was down for over a month before we used it, had no licence and the skippers were unqualified.

They even jumped off the boat minutes before when they could not do anything anymore, and left us to die,” Ms Namubiru wrote.

According to the maritime tradition, the person in charge of a boat or ship must be the last person to leave when it is in distress.

The Director of Police Operations, Mr Asuman Mugenyi, said police would record statements from Prince David Wasajja and other survivors.

“These are witnesses to help us in our investigations. They are not suspects. In any accident, investigations are conducted and a report released to assist in preventing future incidents,” Mr Mugenyi said.

He said the occupants of MV Templar disobeyed police orders not to sail in the boat whose mechanical condition was questionable.

He said some of the occupants of the ill-fated boat abused police officers.
The directors of the ill-fated boat, Templar Bisase and his wife Sheila, died in the accident. The boat was unlicenced and unregistered.

Many survivors are reluctant to talk about the accident or what happened before and after the tragedy.
Ms Namubiru said before departure at KK Beach in Ggaba last Saturday, Mr Freeman Kiyimba, a city businessman, told her that the boat had delayed to arrive at the landing site because it had developed mechanical hiccups which were being sorted.

“Then Freeman tried to explain to me ‘you know, we were scheduled to leave around midday, but then the boat got issues, but eventually he has managed.

He has come. Now it’s here. We can go. You know, the boat had a few hiccups,” Ms Namubiru said in her social media post yesterday.

“Eh! I was like, ‘Oh my God, a few hiccups? Hiccups? You mean the boat itself, or whoever was organising had hiccups, as in problems?’ He said ‘the boat’,” she said.

Earlier, Mr Kiyimba while on Salt TV, said he was not aware of the boat they were going to use or its mechanical condition.

By Daily Monitor

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