Tanzania tanker inferno puts the spotlight on transport safety

Bystanders carry off an incinerated motorcycle following a fuel tanker blaze in Tanzania over the weekend. Source: AFP

Questions have been raised about truck security and general public safety by transporters, public officials and general logistics concerns in SADC after a fuel tanker inferno claimed the lives of 64 people and severely injured 70 more.

The tanker was on its way from the Port of Dar es Salaam when it attempted to avoid a collision with a motorcyclist in the town of Morogoro, about 180 kilometres west of the Tanzanian capital.

It started spilling fuel on impact, attracting looters who rushed to the scene with scooping buckets and portable plastic tanks.

Unfortunately the fuel was leaking in a semi-circle pattern and when the truck exploded it trapped most of the looters between the blazing tanker and a ring of fire.

SADC chair Dr Hage Geingob, current president of Namibia, expressed his shock and sadness following the tanker tragedy on a main road from Tanzania to Zambia.

In a heartfelt message after the incident, the biggest of its kind in Tanzania’s transport history, Geingob expressed his “deepest condolences to the government and people of Tanzania”.

Since the accident road hauliers have begun asking for an investigation into how the tanker could have started spilling fuel so easily after a fairly minor accident when it swerved to avoid colliding with a motorcycle.

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