KFS orders probe as ferry, oil tanker in near accident

Kenya ferry Managing Director Bakari Gowa addressing the media at Likoni ferry ramp in Mombasa County on Tuesday,09th May,2017. [Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]
Confusion and anxiety has gripped the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) in Mombasa after the Transport ministry and the agency's board ordered an investigation into a recent near-collision involving an oil tanker and a ferry full of passengers.

The police and maritime industry regulatory officials yesterday camped at the KFS to probe the incident that left hundreds of ferry passengers shaken.

Reports indicated the probe has isolated the ferry's coxswain, operations manager and engineer on duty that day as the key people of concern in this probe.

KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa (pictured) confirmed that sleuths were investigating the incident which has sparked fears in Mombasa and in the maritime sector.

He said that the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) was investigating the incident adding that “we will not rush to make a decision on those involved".

“We are waiting for the outcome of that investigation to ensure a fair decision is arrived at. We do not want to rush the decision on those involved,” Mr Gowa said.

Earlier, Gowa said: “A meeting was held at Mombasa County Commissioner office on the same incident where it was agreed that in future, vessels entering and leaving Kilindini harbour be as much as possible be rescheduled to ferry off-peak time.”

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The ferry services has given two separate dates of the incident in which the tanker and ferry came within feet of colliding as passengers screamed.

KFS initially denied the near-accident took place and later issued a statement claiming it happened on August 10 before revising the date to August 3.

There are reports that many other incidents of this nature have happened in the Likoni Channel before and stifled with no report to Nairobi made or action taken against those responsible.

Yesterday, The Standard established that an impromptu county security committee was convened following the latest incident.

But what has annoyed the board and ministry is that the security apparatus and KFS management failed to report this incident to Nairobi and attempted to provide misleading information when it was reported in the press yesterday.

Maritime experts warned that the incident could have been viewed as a violation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ISPS Code deals with ships and port security.

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