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Mtongwe ferry services set to resume

MV Harambee ferry before its official re-launch at Likoni channel in Mombasa. The ferry was refurbished at the cost of Sh134 million. [Photo: Omondi Onyango/Standard]

Mtongwe channel ferry services will resume in the next two weeks.

The Government has also announced measures to boost services and security at the Likoni ferry channel.

Transport Principal Secretary Wilson Irungu Nyakera said President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to relaunch the Mtongwe ferry services that were suspended more than five years ago.

"The relaunch of the Mtongwe ferry service will be a Christmas gift to the residents of Mombasa," said the PS during the re-launch of the Mv Harambee at the Likoni channel this week.

The ferry, with a capacity to carry 1,500 passengers and 60 cars, was reconstructed at a cost of Sh134 million after being out of service for more than a year.

The PS announced that two new ferries being constructed in Turkey at a cost of Sh1.3 billion will delivered in June 2017 to boost the ageing fleet.

He said the Government was fast-tracking the Sh5 billion cable car project as an alternative transport across the Likoni channel.

He was speaking during the relaunch function that was attended by Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Chairman Ramadhan Kajembe, Managing Director Bakari Gowa and Mombasa County Assembly Leader of Majority Hamisi Mwidani, among others.

The PS said the national government has allocated Sh100 million to KFS this financial year to boost security at the Likoni and was set to give another Sh400 million in the next financial year for the same purpose.

He said the Government has allocated Sh100 million for ferry workshop and will allocate another Sh40 million for the same purpose in the next financial year.

Mr Nyakera said the Government was committed to the construction of a multi-level car park on the island side to provide ample space for ferry users.

The PS also announced that initial designs for the construction of a bridge across the Likoni channel had been approved.

Mr Kajembe appealed to the county government to give KFS grants to improve services.

"We have received a lot of support from the national government and we are appealing to the county government to also introduce grants to fund ferry services," Kajembe said.

Mr Gowa said with the Mv Harambee in operation, services at the Likoni channel will improve particularly during the Christmas and New Year festive season.

"We are approaching the festive season and we are happy that Mv Harambee is back in service to handle the increase number of passengers," Gowa said.

Tourism players in Mombasa who attended the function said construction of a bridge across the Likoni channel will provide a lasting solution to the frequent traffic congestion.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Coast branch) executive officer Sam Ikwaye and chairperson of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, Coast branch, Monica Solanki commended the Government for funding ferry operations to ensure efficiency.

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