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Mv le joola

The meaning of «mv le joola»

MV Le Joola was a Senegalese government-owned roll-on/roll-off ferry that capsized off the coast of The Gambia on 26 September 2002,[1] with 1,863 deaths and 64 survivors. It is thought to be the second-worst non-military disaster in maritime history.

The ship was plying the route from Ziguinchor in the Casamance region to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, when it ran into a violent storm, farther out to sea than it was licensed to sail. The estimated 2,000 passengers aboard (about half of whom lacked tickets) would have amounted to nearly four times the ship's design load. The large numbers sleeping on-deck (and thus above its center of buoyancy) added further instability. Rescue operations did not start for several hours.

A government inquiry principally blamed negligence, and accusations were levelled at both the Senegalese president and prime minister.

The ship was named Le Joola after the Jola people of southern Senegal. It was constructed in Germany and was delivered in 1990. She was 79 m (259 ft 2 in) long and 12 m (39 ft 4 in) wide, had two motors, and was equipped with some of the latest safety equipment available at the time of the disaster. Le Joola usually traveled twice a week and often carried women who sold mangoes and palm oil in Dakar. At the time of the disaster, the ship had been out of service for almost a year undergoing repairs, which included replacement of the port side engine.

At about 1:30 pm on 26 September 2002, Le Joola set sail from Ziguinchor in the Casamance region on one of its frequent trips between southern Senegal and Dakar. Although the ship was designed to carry a maximum of 580 passengers and crew, an estimated 1,863 passengers are believed to have been on board, including 185 people who boarded the ship from Carabane, an island where there was no formal port of entry or exit for passengers. The exact number of passengers remains unknown (some Senegalese organizations put the number at over 2,000), but there were 1,034 travelers with tickets. The rest of the passengers were either not required to hold tickets (children aged less than 5) or had been permitted to travel for free, as often happened.[2]

The last call from the ferry staff was broadcast to a maritime security center in Dakar at 10 pm and reported good sailing conditions. At around 11pm, the ship sailed into a storm off the coast of Gambia. As a result of the rough seas and wind, the ferry capsized, throwing passengers and cargo into the sea, all within five minutes.

While many of the ship's passengers may have died during or immediately following the capsizing, a large number probably survived, only to drown while awaiting rescue. Government rescue teams did not arrive at the scene until the morning following the accident, although local fishermen rescued some survivors from the sea several hours before. Only 64 passengers survived. Of more than 600 women on board, only one woman, Mariama Diouf, survived; she was pregnant at the time.[3]

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