The never ending Likoni ferry saga adds another chapter


A regular source from Mombasa related the latest mishap which struck the Likoni ferry yesterday, when one of the newly purchased ferries, MV Likoni, reportedly came in too fast for landing and then got stuck on the ramp way above the water level.

The Kenya Ferry Services were last year plagued by a series of mechanical failures, on some occasions leaving not a single ferry operating, besides running into labour problems when staff went on slow go and repeatedly resorted to full scale strikes, stranding hundreds of thousands of commuters and thousands of cars, including tourist busses and safari vehicles in the process.

Estimates are that some 5.000 vehicles and as many as 200.000 passengers per day use the ferry to cross from the island of Mombasa to the southern mainland and following incidents like yesterday calls are regularly getting louder again to speed up the construction of the bypass road from the Nairobi highway and the airport to connect directly to that part of the coast, or else consider constructing a bridge or tunnel to relieve long suffering commuters and the business community.

Embattled KFS Managing Director Musa Hassan Musa tried to explain in vain that a sudden change in water levels due to an ‘ebb tide’ was responsible for the grounding as most other sources blamed the crew for coming in too fast and sliding up the ramp, getting the vessels stuck until the next high tide refloated the ferry.

A construction programme is underway to add more ramps on both sides of the Likoni channel to permit more ferries to dock at the same time during rush hours but completion, previously expected last year already, has been delayed due to problems caused by the terrain on both sides.

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