* Rescue operation to resume at first light
* More than 200 killed in ferry disaster in September
(Updates with latest toll, rescue mission suspended)
By Ally Saleh
STONE TOWN, Zanzibar, July 18 A ferry with more
than 250 people on board, including some foreigners, capsized
and sank between the east African coast and the Zanzibar
archipelago on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people, police
Police Commissioner Mussa Ali Mussa said 145 people had been
rescued and that the rescue mission was suspended until morning.
The ferry, MV Skagit/Kalama, set sail from mainland Tanzania
at around midday for Zanzibar, Tanzania's semi-autonomous
archipelago and a popular tourist destination.
"The latest count that we have is 31 people dead and 145
were rescued. We have suspended the rescue operation for the
night, but we will resume it at first light in the morning,"
Mussa told Reuters by telephone.
"The passenger boat had between 250 and 300 people on board
when it capsized in rough seas."
Government spokesman Yusuf Chunda said a foreigner was among
those killed, but it was not clear how many others had been on
board the vessel.
"One foreigner, a woman, is among the dead. Thirteen other
foreigners were rescued and are in hospital," Chunda said.
Earlier, police said the vessel was carrying 250 adult
passengers and 31 children when it capsized near Chumbe island,
west of Zanzibar.
Zanzibar police spokesman Mohammed Mhina said by telephone
that many passengers were missing but added "we don't know how
many of them sank with the boat".
"Almost the entire boat has been submerged in water ... only
a small part of the boat is now visible."
The ferry is owned by a company named Seagull, which also
runs a number of other ferries. Previous reports had indicated
the vessel was called MV Salama.
More than 200 people were killed when a crowded ferry sank
in September off the coast of east Africa in the worst maritime
disaster in the history of Zanzibar.
(Additional reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala in Dar es
Salaam; Editing by James Macharia, Yara Bayoumy and Alison