BREAKDOWN OR SABOTAGE – LIKONI FERRIES BACK IN THE BAD NEWS
When yesterday late afternoon some of the ferries used to connect Mombasa island with the Southern mainland ‘stalled’, stranding tens of thousands of commuters and hundreds of vehicles including tourist busses, suspicion was raised promptly that disgruntled ferry workers, repeatedly on strike and go slow in recent months, had found a new way to demand for their outstanding payments.
According to reports received from regular tourism sources in Mombasa at least three ferries were out of service, leaving travelers stuck on either side of the channel for hours into the night, while a single ferry did trip after trip trying to clear the backlog of vehicles and walk on passengers. Another ferry brought from the maintenance yard also stalled before it carried out even one commercial trip, lending more credibility to suggestions that sabotage was at work, even though some sources in Mombasa claimed in communications that poor maintenance was to blame, together with over use of the handful of ferries operated by Kenya Ferry Services.
Resorts and the South coast made arrangements for clients coming in way beyond normal dinner time to still get a meal, alerted by safari operators after the drivers had used their mobile phones to call in and report the renewed problems at the ferry ramps.
At least two regular contributors from Mombasa laid the blame squarely on the management of the company, calling them incompetent with one saying: ‘It can happen that one or two ferries stall but this is too much. First three of them fail and then one brought from maintenance also fails? There is something seriously wrong at KFS and I am worried that one day negligence may result in an accident. If ferries stall midstream they can collide with ships coming or leaving and imagine the consequences. There is talk of sabotage but if that is true, are those staff even thinking of the risks they expose ferry users? The sooner we get the new road to the South coast the better because at the rate we are going this will cause us more and more problems’.
By late evening the jams on both sides had started to reduce but queues were reported to be substantially longer still compared to normal operations at this time of the night. Watch this space for updates as and when available.