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ON BOARD MV LIKONI | Coastweek

Coastweek-- ON BOARD MV LIKONI - President Uhuru Kenyatta [in front] and his deputy William Ruto [right, partly hidden] embarks on board the MV Likoni during the launch of the Mtongwe Ferry services at Mtongwe channel on Monday. The ferry will be operating along the Mtongwe channel during peak hours only. PHOTO BY TITUS MUSAU

President Launches The Mtongwe Ferry Services

Coastweek--  The chilling memories of April 29, 1994 tragedy in which 272 people perished after a ferry bound for mainland capsized, is what strikes the minds of many whenever Mtongwe Ferry is mentioned.

Almost similar memories flooded back yesterday when President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the resumption of the ferry services suspended close to five years ago to pave way for Sh305 million renovation of the Mtongwe channel’s jetty and pontoon which had run down.

The pontoon had caved in, prompting the government, through the Kenya Ferry Service, to initiate the renovation early 2013.

During the re-launch, President Uhuru said the revamping of the ferry services would spare residents the agony of having to trek for long distances or incur high costs in accessing the mainland from the island and vice versa.

“We have sat with your leaders and heard your cry and as government, we thought it wise to resume the ferry services so that we can reconnect the residents to quicker transport means,” said the President.

Marine security An estimated 30,000 people will now be using the channel daily, President Uhuru said, adding that plans are underway to procure two new ferries at a cost of Sh2.2 billion and also build ramps at the crossing channel for use by vehicles.

 

Launching of the Mtongwe Ferry services | Coastweek

 
  Coastweek-- President Uhuru Keyatta [centre], his deputy William Ruto [third left] and Mombasa County Governor aspirant Suleiman Shabhal [third right] wave to members of the public on arrival at Mtongwe mainland for the launching of the Mtongwe Ferry services at Mtongwe channel on Monday. The ferry will be operating during peak hours only. PHOTO BY TITUS MUSAU

And as the Mtongwe Ferry services resume, residents have asked the government to ensure sufficient marine security to minimize risks of loss of lives in case of accidents.

Those who witnessed the 1994 tragedy said loss of lives could have been avoided on that day if proper security measures had been in place.

Aziz Abdalla Issah, a survivor of the 1994 incident, claims most of them are yet to be compensated as promised.

“I was on the ferry that day and until today we have not been compensated. I have a file of all the survivors. There are propaganda claims doing the rounds that we were paid,” said Aziz.

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