BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Senegal ferry victims sue government
Dakar cemetery for ferry victims
About 1,000 people died in Africa's worst sea disaster
The families of victims of the Joola ferry disaster in Senegal a month ago have announced that they are suing the Senegalese Government.


Once those responsible for the accident are identified, they will have to be arrested and put in jail

Families' lawyer El Hadj Diouf
An association representing relatives of 300 victims of the accident has filed a lawsuit against the government for manslaughter and negligence.

About 1,000 people died when the ferry capsized off the Gambian coast on 26 September. Only 64 survived.

Investigations ordered by President Abdoulaye Wade concluded that the state-run ferry was overloaded and that the crew failed to observe proper safety procedures.

'Act fast'

The day after the tragedy, President Wade had said that those responsible would be punished. He said that the families would receive compensation.

The families of the victims have now decided to take the government to court for manslaughter and for failing to assist a person in danger.

"We are not against an amicable solution, but it has to be done before a judge," a lawyer for the relatives, El Hadj Diouf, told AP news agency.

"Once those responsible for the accident are identified, they will have to be arrested and put in jail," he said.

He said the families' action was designed to put pressure on the government to act fast.

Sanctions

Last week President Wade dismissed the head of the navy in response to the disaster.

The navy was responsible for managing the ferry which was packed to at least twice its capacity, with 1,034 people officially on board, when it capsized.

Two government ministers responsible for transport and the armed forces, have resigned over the tragedy.

Reports submitted to the head of state point to serious breaches by the Senegalese navy and air force.

A relative weeps after seeing photos of the dead
All Senegalese were profoundly shocked

The navy's management of the ferry, they say, was poor, the vessel was overloaded with people and freight, and there was negligence and corruption.

More sanctions are expected to target radio operators who failed to notice the Joola's prolonged silence when it was in difficulty.

Of the 551 corpses recovered so far, fewer than 100 have been identified, the others being too decomposed.

There are plans to try to bring the ship, which is stuck on a sandbank, to shore and turn it into a memorial.


Key stories

Background

E-MAIL YOUR VIEWS
See also:

15 Oct 02 | Africa
02 Oct 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes