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
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.
Coastweek-- President Uhuru Keyatta
his deputy William Ruto
and Mombasa County Governor aspirant Suleiman Shabhal
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
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
“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.