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Liemba’s refurbishment to cost 800m euro

The ship has become something of a legend in Tanzania, Germany and in other countries, which run  along  the  eastern  shore of Lake Tanganyika. 

M. V Liemba is of immense importance to Tanzania linking it to other neighbouring countries for handling passengers and transit cargo to Zambia, East DRC and Burundi. Liemba being the Swahili name for Lake Tanganyika, with her actual displacement of more than 1,300 tons and her draught of 3 metres, M.V Liemba is one of the largest and oldest ships on the African lakes.

The  Rukwa   Regional Commissioner, Ms Stella Manyanya told  the 'Daily News on Saturday'  during  an exclusive  interview  held  recently  here  that  the ship  is possibly the oldest passenger and cargo ship world over that is still being used in an intensive and regular service. 

The M.V Liemba  "The African Queen  of Lake  Tanganyika" was built in Germany in 1913, and carries approximately 400 passengers and crew as she makes her way back and forth along the complete length of   mighty  Lake Tanganyika, the  longest  and  deepest  lake  on  the  vast African  continent. 

“ Following  her  dilapidated  state,  the Germany   government is  expected  to   dish  out   more than  Euro 800m for  refurbishing  of M.V  Liemba , the oldest  ship  in  the World. The  passenger and  cargo  ship  operates  between  the  ports  of  Kigoma  and  Kasanga, Tanzania  and  Mpulungu, Zambia  with  numerous  stops  to  pick  up  and  set   down   passengers   in   between ……… She   also  operates  between ports  of  other  neighbouring  countries  including Congo  DRC, Rwanda  and Burundi," added the RC. 

Formerly named the Graf von Götzen, the M.V Liemba has a rich history, starting way back during the First World War where she was used by the Germans to shuttle soldiers along the lake.  The ship was also the inspiration for the German gunboat Luisa in C.S. Fosters 1935 novel The African Queen, later made into a famous film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. 

In 1997, the Liemba was used by the UNHCR, along with M. V "Mwongozo", to transport more than 75,000 refugees, who had fled the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) during the First Congo War, back to their homeland following the overthrow of a long time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

According  to RC,  the  ship stopped her operations  for  a year  until  1996  when  she resumed her operation  of  ferrying   passengers  at Kasanga  port   in 1996. In 2003  the  vessel  started  handling  and   transiting  cargo  from  Kasanga  and Kigoma  ports  to  the  neghbouring  Congo  DRC, Rwanda, Zambia  and  Burundi . The RC  further  hinted  that  until December last  year,  M.V  Liemba  was  reported  to have  handled  117,823.86 tons  of  cargo.

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