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KFS now screening ferry passengers at Likoni

THE COUNTIES
By Patrick Beja | May 25th 2015

All commuters at the Likoni Channel are now being screened before boarding the ferries.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary John Mosonik, who visited the Likoni Channel on Saturday said safety and security was a priority at the crossing since 300,000 passengers use the vessels daily.

The security screening at the ferry is similar to the one that carried out at major establishments such as hotels and other public facilities. The PS ordered the Kenya Ferry Service (KFS) management to step up maintenance of the ferries to prevent marine disasters.

"I have instructed the management to stock critical spare parts to ensure prompt maintenance of the ferries. KFS management is doing its best, but ferrying 300,000 commuters using old ferries has been a challenge," Dr Mosonik said.

His visit to the channel followed an incident where MV Kwale drifted for over a kilometre towards the high seas  with about 1500 passengers on board.

New by-pass

Mosonik, who was accompanied by KFS Managing Director Musa Hassan, said the Government would speed up the construction of the Dongo Kundu by-pass to provide an alternative route to south Coast.

He said the Government was expediting the procurement of two new ferries to supplement the existing ones, noting that the number of passengers was increasing by about 30 per cent annually. The two vessels are expected to cost about US$18 million (about Sh1.7 billion) and will help improve the operations at the channel.

He also said the Government was considering partnering with the private sector to introduce a cable car transport system at the channel to replace ferries.

"We are looking for options that will reduce congestion at the Likoni Channel," said the PS.

KFS' current fleet comprises MV Nyayo, MV Kilindini, MV Harambee, MV Kwale and MV Likoni. Two vessels, MV Pwani and MV Mvita, were recently withdrawn from service because they are too old.

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