A boat cruise on Lake Victoria turned into a nightmare as it abruptly came to a standstill in the middle of the lake for a long spell, triggering fear in the very suspecting passengers.
The boat, MV Vanessa was headed to Water Front Beach Entebbe from Lutoboka, Kalangala District when it got stuck on the lake, prompting frightened passengers to make distress calls to relatives and the police.
Police claim that at about 5:00 pm, they got a distress call from one of the passengers on the boat, claiming they were in danger of drowning.
“Our Police Marine Unit responded to a distress call from Lake Victoria. According to the caller, a boat, MV Vanessa, which they had boarded from Lutoboka, Kalangala District heading to Water Front Beach Entebbe, got stuck on the lake. The passengers were scared of what could happen next,” Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said.
When the police response team located the boat, they found that it had only run out of fuel.
“Police responded and later got to know that it was not a mechanical issue that had made the boat to fail, but they had run out of fuel. The boat management was sending fuel and the rescue team arrived at 5:17 pm with fuel which enabled them to sail again to Entebbe,” Owoyesigire said.
“We have summoned the boat captain to record statements upon what exactly happened and why he had opted to set sail without enough fuel,” he added.
“Our officers in the Police Marine unit have also confirmed that all the occupants of the boat arrived safely at their destination and theirs is no cause of alarm, however, we appeal to the public to always inform our Police Marine Unit whenever such issues happen on our toll-free line 0800 300113.”
On November 24, 2018, MV Templar, a boat destined for K-Palm beach capsized a few meters away from Mutima beach in Mukono district.
The joint operation by Police and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) marines and local saw 32 bodies recovered whereas 26 people, including Prince David Wasajja of Buganda, musician Iryn Namubiru and a city tycoon, John Fredrick Kiyimba commonly known as Freeman rescued.
Following the MV Templar debacle, police announced they are offering free swimming and life- saving lessons to the public.
Addressing journalists, deputy police spokesperson, Polly Namaye said as part of the commemorations to mark one year since the tragedy, they have organized free lessons in swimming and life- saving to members of the public.
“The Uganda Police marine department in partnership with Swim Safe Uganda and the Civil Aviation Authority have partnered to provide free lessons to members of the public willing to take part. The program will run from December 9 to 19th at Nameless beach in Entebbe,” Namaye said.