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A ship carrying goods for Somali businessmen sank after hitting a rock at the entrance of Kismayo port in Somalia's Lower Jubba region effectively blocking the port, according to officials and residents who spoke to Somalia Report.
Shirar Aflow, a worker at the port, confirmed that the ship sank at the entrance of the port, and said the crew was saved before it sank
“At around 12pm, the ship sank after hitting a certain rock at the entrance of the port. The ship took a short period of time to sink. We used that time to save the crew. It is fortunate that none of the people on the ship died," said Shirar told Somalia Report.
The ship was laden with 500 - 50kg bags of sugar, 2000 - 20 liters oil cans, an underdetermined amount of petrol and a car, all of which was lost when the ship went down.
“All the property in the ship was lost. It was not possible to save the property as well. Everyone was worried about the people inside the ship; the priority was to save the people, not the property. After saving the people the ship was already sinking and there wasn’t any time left to take off the goods from the ship," added Shirar Aflow.
Other sources told Somalia Report that at least 1500 - 20 liter oil cans were found on shore, likely from the vessel.
Hundur Qani, a businessman who owned some of the goods that were lost, also confirmed the sinking.
“It is sad news for us. It is a great loss. But we can’t complain this is part of fate," said Hundur.
He explained the good on the vessel were part of a co-operative and several businessmen were involved. Prior to reaching Kismayo, the ship off loaded goods at the port of Mogadishu.
There are efforts underway to send divers to determine the best way of moving the vessel to allow for other ships to pass. While other ships have sunk in the port, this is the first time one has blocked the port.
The port of Kismayo is the stronghold of the al-Shabaab Islamist insurgents who use the port to bring in weapons and fighters. What this affect will have on their fight against the allied forces of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia is unknown. The allied forces are currently making their way to Kismayo in an attempt to seize the town.