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KMA direct two ferries to stop operations

By Patrick Beja | March 2nd 2020
The MV Nyayo ferry grounded at the Island ramp side. [Gideon Maundu/Standard]

Two old ferries plying the Likoni Ferry channel will be grounded for maintenance. The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has dispatched a team of marine surveyors to the channel after KTN exclusively reported on the poor state of MV Nyayo.

The authority's director general, George Okong’o, said MV Nyayo and MV Harambee would go for dry-docking repairs.

“Currently, MV Harambee is out of service awaiting statutory dry-docking repairs. Further, the authority ordered MV Nyayo to undergo dry-dock repairs so as to close some of the identified deficiencies,” he said in response to questions from The Standard.

The KMA boss added that a team from the authority visited Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) and inspected MV Nyayo and MV Kilindini in follow-up inspections to close deficiencies noted during a similar exercise on January 30.

He said the team further wanted to find out if safety improvements had been put in place since the last inspection.

“It was noted that some of the deficiencies had been rectified, Further Kenya Ferry Services was planning to undertake rectification of pending deficiencies at a dry-dock facility,” said Major (rtd) Okong'o in a statement.

He added that the KMA team had noted some improvement in ensuring that cars are stowed at a safe distance from the prows, and that at all times the safety chain running across the car deck is secured before the ferry departs.

He said this would be in place until the prows are fully operational.

“During the follow-up inspection, additional deficiencies noted were communicated to the management of KFSL for rectification within the agreed timeline,” he said.

MV Nyayo, MV Harambee and MV Kilindini, which were delivered in 1990, are due for replacement but are still in operation owing to a shortage of vessels.

On September 29 last year, a car with a mother and her daughter slipped into the sea from MV Harambee whose prow could not be lifted. Their bodies were retrieved after nearly two weeks.

KFS is awaiting the delivery of MV Safari from Turkey later this month to address the acute shortage of vessels.

The other ferries in operation are MV Jambo, delivered in 2017 from Turkey, and MV Likoni and MV Kwale procured from Germany in 2010.  

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