Compensation of the Joola shipwreck victims

On September 26, 2002, the Joola ship sank causing a heavy toll : 1863 people perished while the maximum number of passengers was not to exceed 550.

Joola shipwreck in video

Source: The Raven's Eye/Youtube

Joola shipwreck: compensation of the victims’ families

On the day following the disaster, the Senegalese government readily admitted its responsibility without reservation. But with the impossibility of applying international agreements that could compensate the victims' legal beneficiaries, the interested parties were left with either choosing an amicable solution or going to court.

After many meetings, the government's Legal Agency finally announced on Monday, June 16, 2003, that 5 million FCFA would be paid to the legal beneficiaries of each deceased victim and 3 million FCFA to the victims who survived. The victims' Support Group, however, asked that not less than 20 million FCFA (35 350 USD) be paid to each victim without distinction.

The government's decision comes after Mr. Lamine Coulibaly's suggestion to refer to the code of the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA). The solution proposed by Mr. Lamine Coulibaly distinguishes between compensation for moral prejudice and compensation for material damages.

Joola shipwreck: moral prejudice

  1. in % of the annual minimum wage
    Minor child
    Child legally of age
    The Contractual repair taking as a reference the mode of compensation for the person's physical damage, taking into consideration its consequence on his private and professional activities. The all-inclusive compensation is based on the compensation method applied to physical damage, as regard to private and professional activities. The allowance is based on a percentage of the annual minimum wage and is paid to the victim's spouse and parents, in conformity with Article 266 of the CIMA code.
  2. The second solution is inspired from the principle of the non- commercialization of mental pain translated by the payment of a symbolic Franc.

Joola shipwreck: material prejudice

The spouse and the minor children are sole beneficiaries of the compensation. Generally speaking, the compensation is paid in as capital or in regular annuities. In the case of the Joola, it could be calculated on an annuity basis, to be determined after agreement between the parties according to the actual annual income of the deceased, or, in the absence of the annual minimum wage, according to the age of the victim.

The board in charge of the compensation, aligned with the insurance companies concerned, could initiate settlement following a uniform scale taking into account the abovementioned modules.

The Joola, flash back

Acquired in 1994 by the Senegalese shipping company, COSENAM, (Compagnie Sénégalaise de Navigation Maritime) the ferryboat “Joola“ could not be insured, as insurers claimed 26 regulations were not met. The Joola management was then entrusted in 1995 to the Dakar harbor administration (P.A.D.), (Port Autonome de Dakar), which made the necessary arrangements to insure the ferry.

A tender offer was quickly withdrawn before an insurer could be selected, the concerned ministerial authority having decided to entrust the management of the ferry to the Army. Since the ferry was state owned, it fell under the authority of the Army, rather than that of the Merchant Navy.

With its 1863 victims, the shipwreck of the Senegalese ferry on September 26, 2002 off Gambia is one of the most fatal maritime disaster, ahead of the Titanic on board of which 1 513 people had perished on April 14, 1912.

We thank the federation of Senegalese insurance companies (FSSA) for their kind assistance in the conception of this report
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