MV Skagit

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Name: Skagit
Owner: WSDOT
Operator: Washington State Ferries 1990–2009
Port of registry: Seattle, Washington, United States 1989–2011
Builder: Halter Marine, New Orleans, Louisiana[1]
Cost: $5 million[2]
Completed: 1989
In service: 1990
Out of service: 2009
Identification: Official Number: D949140
Call Sign: WAA6309[3]
Fate: Sold to Canadian investors after unsuccessful ebay listing[4]
Name: Skagit
Operator: Seagull Sea Transport (Zanzibar)[1][5]
Port of registry: Zanzibar (October 25, 2011–)[5]
Route: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania–Unguja Island, Zanzibar
Acquired: c. 2011
In service: c. 2011
Out of service: July 18, 2012
Fate: Sank near Chumbe Island off Zanzibar;
c. 150 people presumed dead.
General characteristics
Class and type: Skagit/Kalama Class passenger ferry
Length: 112 ft (34.1 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Installed power: Total 2,840 hp from four diesel engines
Propulsion: Diesel Reduction
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Capacity: 250 passengers[6]

MV Skagit was a Skagit/Kalama Class[citation needed] passenger ferry originally operated by Washington State Ferries (WSF) from 1989–2009 and then in Tanzania until her disastrous sinking in Zanzibar in July 2012.

Operational history[edit]

The Skagit and the MV Kalama were the only two ships of their class in the WSF fleet. Together they served on the Seattle-Vashon Island route (see King County Water Taxi).[7] In 2006 WSF was directed to end its passenger-only service, and in 2011 the Skagit and Kalama were sold and transported to Tanzania to provide service between the mainland and Zanzibar.[8]


On July 18, 2012, the vessel sank near Chumbe Island[9] while in ferry service in Tanzania. After departing Dar es Salaam bound for Unguja Island (Zanzibar) with more than 250 people on board, the ship struggled in rough seas and sank approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) from Unguja.[1] At least 146 were rescued while as many as 150 were still missing after a day of rescue operations.[4] Early reports attributed the disaster to high winds and overloading of passengers. The ship was certified for a maximum capacity of 250 yet officials said it had 290 aboard at the time.[2][10]


The Zanzibar government blamed the disaster on the ship operating over too long of a distance, and the island's transportation minister resigned.[5] In addition, vessels had been warned not to make the crossing because of the high seas, according to Tanzania's chief meteorologist.[4] After Skagit's loss, Zanzibar barred sister ship MV Kalama from operating and later "deleted" her and three other ferries from its list of sea vessels for safety reasons.[5][11]

See also[edit]

List of maritime disasters


  1. ^ a b c Drake, Shawn (July 18, 2012). "MV SKAGIT, Former U.S. Ferry Capsizes Off Tanzanian Coast". Maritime Matters. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b Sultan, Ali (July 20, 2012). "Death toll rises to 31 in Tanzania ferry accident". Businessweek. AP. 
  3. ^ The Monohull ferries - M/V Skagit,
  4. ^ a b c Toll from former Vashon ferry sinking in Tanzania could hit 150, Seattle Times, Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Accessed 15 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "Zanzibar tightens marine safety", The Guardian (Tanzania: IPP Media), July 24, 2012, retrieved 2013-10-16 
  6. ^ Vessel information - M/V Skagit, WSF, WSDOT
  7. ^ Route information, WSF, WSDOT
  8. ^ Washington ferries destined for Tanzania, Washington State Department of Transportation, Friday, February 18, 2011. Accessed 18 February 2011.
  9. ^ Capsized Ferry off Zanzibar – EU Naval Force Assists Rescue Efforts with Luxembourg Patrol Aircraft, EU NAVFOR Somalia, July 20, 2012, retrieved 2013-10-16 
  10. ^ Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala (July 19, 2012), More than 100 missing after Zanzibar ferry sinks, Reuters, retrieved 2013-10-15 
  11. ^ ISSA YUSSUF (27 July 2012), "Tanzania: From the Zanzibar House of Reps", Tanzania Daily News, retrieved 2013-10-16 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°21′59.99″S 39°09′59.99″E / 6.3666639°S 39.1666639°E / -6.3666639; 39.1666639