Three Tanzanian fishermen who were rescued by a cargo ship after getting stranded at sea for three days and two nights, arrived safely at the port of Mombasa Tuesday.
The three fishermen from the nondescript Tanagani area in Pemba survived without food or water after their dugout canoe which was on a fishing expedition capsized following a heavy storm.
Their hopes to return to their families with a catch were turned into a nightmare, as the three spent over 55 hours on the high seas playing hide-and-seek games with sharks and other deadly sea creatures to save their lives.
According to police, Hafith Abdalla, 17, Musa Silima, 18 and Silimani Zidini, had set sail for the high seas early Saturday morning at around 4 am, on a non-motorized canoe.
But mid-through their voyage, their canoe came under a torrential storm accompanied by strong tidal waves that swept it off, tossing the fishermen into the raging waters.
Miraculously, the trio fought through the storm and strong winds spawned by a surge of the northeast monsoon and managed to get hold of the vessel, which they floated on the water once again and hopped aboard.
But with their paddles gone with the tides, the fishermen lost control over the canoe and with the shore being tens of nautical miles away, they resigned to their fate drifting deep into the sea by wind and tide.
All this while, sharks crisscrossed daringly inches from the canoe as if marking time for the slightest provocation, before tearing the ill-fated vessel apart and devouring the terrified occupants in a single bite! But the fishermen knew better.
They remained calm and clung to hope for survival.
Luckily on Monday evening, the captain of a bulk ship MV Ince Atlantic spotted the canoe with stranded occupants within the Kenyan territorial waters.
The Captain reported to the Kenya Ports Authority control tower and was advised to assist the three and disembark them in Mombasa.
The ship’s crew members rescued the panic-stricken trio and gave them food, water, clothing and a place to sleep before ferrying them up to the outer Port limits of the Mombasa port.
Such is the miraculous survival story of three fishermen from little-known Tanagani in Pemba, located in Tanzania’s Zanzibari archipelago.
The Tanzanian consular was immediately notified and after interviewing the three, he established that they were Tanzanian nationals.
Plans are currently underway to ensure that they are repatriated back home and reunited with their families.