As the festive season draws near, police has said they are set to inspect all boats and vessels on all water bodies around the country.
Last week, a boat carrying more than 100 revellers from KK beach in Ggaba to K-Palm beach in Mukono capsized at Mutima country haven killing 33 people. 27 were rescued.
Addressing journalists at the Central Police Station in Kampala on Monday, police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said in a bid to avoid a repeat of what happened the previous Saturday, the police marine department has decided to carry out an impromptu check on boats and vessels.
“The Uganda Police Force Marine Unit together with the Ministry of Works and Transport are in the process of carrying out massive operations to inspect all boats and vessels on our water bodies to ensure their worthiness to avoid endangering lives as it was recently,”Kayima said.
“They have already started with the life- saving equipment like jackets for passenger boats.”
Accounts from survivors and fishermen privy to the matter indicated that the ill-fated MV Templar was in a bad condition and had been grounded for over three months prior to the final journey.
Many said that before taking off from KK beach in Ggaba, it had to first undergo repairs which among others included closing holes by filling them with concrete and painting it before taking the fateful journey that claimed over 30 lives when it capsized.
According to the police mouthpiece, in a bid to avoid a repeat of such incidents, they are set to carry out a routine check on all boats and vessels and that those found in bad condition would not be allowed to operate.
Following the November 24 tragedy, many blasted government for failure to inspect the ill-fated boat on top of allowing it to operate in such a dilapidated condition.
In response, the State Minister for Transport, Aggrey Bagiire said the boat was hidden whenever their officers wanted to inspect it.
He added that on the fateful day police officers who wanted to stop it from making the fateful journey were abused and threatened forcing them to back off their duty.
Strict guidelines ahead of festive season
Speaking on Monday, the police spokesperson said the strict guidelines issued in 2015 in regards water safety especially at beaches are still in operation as the festive season draws near.
“The measures issued in 2015 still stand. These include among others; not allowing swimmers without professional guides and life savers in close proximity, no swimming beyond 6pm, no swimming while drunk and keeping security in the know for all activities of this nature,”Kayima said.
He urged beach owners to ensure they have standby life -saving teams to monitor what is going on and act fast in case of any occurrence.
The police mouthpiece also asked beach owners to ensure their facilities are well lit so as to avoid any incidents that may go undetected in the dark.