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Mtongwe ferry services to resume next year

By Mwangi Muraguri | December 30th 2015

Ferry services at the Mtongwe channel will resume by June next year, a county assembly committee has said.

Ferry services across Mtongwe channel in Mombasa collapsed in 2010 following the breakdown of the landing infrastructure — gangway and pontoons.

The Mtongwe channel is known for the disaster in the early 1990s when over 250 commuters died when a ferry sank midstream.

Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), which operates vessels at the Mtongwe and Likoni channels, announced in April 2012 that a contractor, Foundation Pilling Ltd, was rehabilitating the facilities, adding that repairs would take 52 weeks.

Yesterday Administration, Security and Disaster Management Committee chairman Hamisi Mwidani, who is also Mtongwe Ward representative in Likoni, said Mombasa County is in the procurement stage of acquiring a new vessel for the Mtongwe channel and would advertise the tender in a week's time.

He said the new vessel will in the meantime be under the care of KFS but said the county was pushing to take over ferry and harbour services.

Mwidani thanked the county government for setting aside Sh100 million for the purchase of the ferry in the 2015/ 2016 budget.

Ferry services at the Mtongwe channel stopped five years ago after the jetty was run down. Mv Pwani and Mv Mvita which used to serve Mtongwe residents were decommissioned in 2012.

Meanwhile, five MCAs from Likoni led by Mwidani have defended the KFS management against claims of mismanagement.

The leaders said the problems were due to underfunding by the national government.

"The delays and breakdowns experienced at the ferry are due to poor allocation of funds for the parastatal, which also are disbursed late," said Mwidani.

Two weeks ago, the county assembly unanimously passed the controversial Ferries and Harbours Bill, 2014.

Yesterday Mwidani hailed the Bill which, if enacted, would see the county collect a fee for all vessels that are anchored in the county waters.

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