At least 78 people have been confirmed dead and 66 others are still missing from last week's Tanzanian ferry disaster, raising fears that some 144 passengers may have died.
On Wednesday, the MV Skagit/Kalama, with about 290 passengers and crew aboard, sank off the coast of the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in East Africa. According to authorities 145 of the passengers have been rescued.
Zanzibari authorities announced on Monday that the number of bodies recovered had risen to 78, with others still missing, AFP reported.
However, police said that there is no hope that the missing passengers could be found alive.
"So far, 78 bodies have been found from the disaster," said Seif Ali Idi, who is the vice president of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania.
Zanzibar’s minister for marine transportation, Hamad Masoud Hamad, resigned from his post over the ferry tragedy.
Idi added that two Western tourists were believed to have died.
He stated that rescuers could not reach the boat and the dead bodies most recently collected were "found floating by fishermen."
"As the government, we are going to improve on the maritime safety regulations to make sure that all vessels which are operating are acceptable and comply with the regulations," Idi said.
Zanzibar police spokesman Mohammed Mhina said that "almost the entire boat has been submerged in water… only a small part of the boat is now visible."
In September 2011, in the deadliest maritime incident in the history of the island, more than 200 people lost their lives when an overcrowded ferry capsized with 800 people on board off Zanzibar.