Some 108 Tanzanian fishermen aboard 23 boats have been washed ashore in Kilifi County after their fishing vessels were caught in rough seas.
The fishermen whose boats landed in Wesa, Watamu, Malindi, Ngomeni and Kipini areas in Kilifi County said they were from Pemba Island which is part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago.
According to Lieutenant Commander, Glen Majanga of the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) the fishermen were aboard boats that started drifting due to bad weather before washing up in the Kilifi shorelines.
He said most of the fishermen were in good health despite being weak but two of them were taken to hospital due to fatigue and seasickness.
Majanga said KCGS have launched investigations to establish whether their fishing vessels were operating within Kenyan territorial waters before the weather conditions worsened.
The Kenyan official said the boaters who were fishermen survived the ordeal because they were experienced sailors and adept at fishing in volatile waters.
He said most of the fishermen did not have proper identification documents.
He said the Kenya Red Cross and the Kenya Fisheries Service were helping the stranded fishermen who are sheltered at the compound of a local mosque.
“So far the Kenya red cross has managed to give bags of maize, beans and warm clothing to the fishermen,” said commander Majanga, adding that they have started contacting the local Tanzanian High Commission in Kenya over their fate.
Shabaan Abdalla chairman of the Kilifi Beach Management Unit said local fishermen discovered the stranded foreign mariners on Thursday and Friday.
Mbaku Juma Mbaku who spoke on behalf of the distraught fishermen said they set sail from Pemba on a fishing trip earlier in the week before strong winds and poor visibility hit their ill fated sea expedition.
“We ran out of fuel as we tried to battle the bad weather before our boats started drifting away only to discover we are unexpectedly in Kenya,” said Mbaku during an interview.
Last week the Kenya Coast Guards seized two Chinese fishing vessels operating within Kenya’s territorial waters illegally.
By Hussein Abdullahi