NAIROBI, KENYA: The United States government has cautioned its citizens against Likoni Ferry in a new health and travel advisory alert.
It wants citizens to consider carefully whether to use the Likoni ferry in Mombasa due to safety concerns.
President Donald Trump administration also warned Americans against travelling to the Kenya-Somalia border and some coastal areas due to terrorism and areas of Turkana County due to crime.
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It also warned them to reconsider travelling to Nairobi neighbourhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera at all times due to crime and kidnapping. “Be especially careful when traveling after dark anywhere in Kenya due to crime.”
“Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time. Local police are willing but often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks. Emergency medical and fire service is also limited,” reads a statement on US Embassy website.
It says that terrorist attacks have occurred with little or no warning, targeting Kenyan and foreign government facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, hotels, resorts, markets/shopping malls, and places of worship. "Terrorist acts have included armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks, and kidnappings."
The travel alert comes at a time when the government has just eased restrictions on international air travel which faced interruptions due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
National carrier the Kenya Airways which flies directly to the United States said it will resume flights to New York in October starting with one flight a week with frequency increasing based on demand, said Board Chairman Michael Joseph.
“I think we will go once a week and then we will start to build. If we see the demand is up, we will go two times or three times a week. I don't know when we will go back to daily flights to the US because of the pandemic,” he said.
In what may make her citizens who had prior travel arrangements to reconsider their plan, the agency also cites COVID-19 as a reason to postpone visits.
“Reconsider travel to Kenya due to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to COVID-19.”
The safety concerns raised over the Likoni Ferry come barely a month after the newly procured MV Safari Ferry was rammed on the side by a smaller ferry creating a huge hole in the belly that soon began to take in water.
MV Likoni was sailing from Mombasa Island with passengers and vehicles when it lost steering power ramming the MV Safari as it prepared to sail across Likoni channel to the island.
Passengers on MV Safari panicked and fled the vessel back to the Likoni mainland as vehicles were removed.
No one was injured in the incident but the chaos that was unleashed created a big traffic snarl-up around the ferry area.
The Kenya Ferry Service officials, however, downplayed the incident only saying it was a "small' incident.
The MV Safari was at the Likoni side full of vehicles and passengers on board ready to cross to the island side.
It was the second time in two months that the ferry supplied in May was involved in such an accident.