Shipping & Logistics

Team formed to curb Likoni channel accidents

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A truck accident at the Likoni Ferry Crossing Channel. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The Ministry of Transport has constituted a team assigned to come up with measures to prevent accidents at the Likoni channel.
  • The interagency technical committee has been instructed to submit a comprehensive review and recommendations in one week.
  • The committee was made following a meeting head by Transport principal secretary Solomon Kitungu who visited Mombasa following three accidents which occurred at the channel.

The Ministry of Transport has constituted a team assigned to come up with measures to prevent accidents at the Likoni channel.

The interagency technical committee has been instructed to submit a comprehensive review and recommendations in one week.

The committee was made following a meeting head by Transport principal secretary Solomon Kitungu who visited Mombasa following three accidents which occurred at the channel.

In a span of two days, two vehicles— a tour bus and a semi-trailer plunged into the Indian Ocean, while another vehicle belonging to a security company overturned at the mainland side ramp of the channel. Drivers of the vehicles escaped unhurt in all the incidents.

Increasing cases of vehicles plunging into the sea have been reported at the channel with a majority caused by the steep gradient and slippery ramp.

During the meeting at the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) offices in Mombasa, PS Kitungu and other government officials recommended that the slippery ramp be cleaned on a daily basis.

In the past, the ramps were only being cleaned once a week. The ramps get mould because of the sea water.

The team further recommended that security should be beefed up at the channel by increasing the number of officers manning it.

“The officials discussed likely causes of the incidents and agreed on short term measures to be implemented immediately, among them increase in security officers and increase in the number of times that the ramps will be cleaned, from once every week to each other day,” reads a statement from KFS.

The meeting was attended by Coast regional commissioner John Elungata, Mombasa county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo and senior officials from KFS, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA)

Other officers representing KPA and State Department for Public Works were also present in the meeting where CCTV records were reviewed before the recommendations were settled on.

According to David Jomeli, a registered civil engineer, there is need for the ramps to be redesigned. Mr Jomeli who is also a frequent user of the channel says to avoid vehicles sliding into the ocean, a barrier should be put up at the end of the ramp.

“That ramp is gradient and in construction standards it should not be the way it is. A redesign must be done to avoid these frequent cases. The surface needs to be at a secured angle,” he said.

Mr Jomeli, who is the Kenya Federation of Master Builders (KFMB) technical director said the barrier and reflecting road marks must also be implemented.

“The slope is in such a way that even if you us a hand brake it would fail. This should not be the case, such a place needs serious measures that should be applied and adhered to,” he added.