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Shipping & Logistics

Congestion at Likoni as ferry withdrawn

MV Jambo
MV Jambo, the biggest of all the ferries crosses the Likoni Channel on January 23, 2020. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

One of the key vessels operating at the busy Likoni channel has been withdrawn from service.

Mv Nyayo, which is 30 years old, has been taken out for repairs at the African Marine and General Engineering Company (Amgeco), according to Kenya Ferry Services (KFS).

The agency said in a statement seen by Shipping and Logistics that the vessel will undergo a mandatory maintenance for two weeks.

“This is therefore to advise you to avoid where necessary rush hours to avoid any delays. The company would subsequently like to appeal for patience and understanding during this period,” said KFS in a statement.

Mv Nyayo is among three old vessels that have been serving more than 300,000 commuters and 6,000 vehicles that use the channel daily.

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Another vessel, Mv Harambee was grounded after a woman and her daughter died when their car slipped into the ocean from the ferry last year.

Currently, four vessels— the Mv Kilindini, Mv Jambo, Mv Kwale and Mv Likoni — operate at the channel.

On Monday, however the Mv Likoni was temporarily withdrawn after it developed mechanical problem. The vessels plying the channel have been withdrawn at many occasions following perennial mechanical problems.

The KFS heavily relies on Mv Jambo which is the largest vessel in the country. However, recently the vessel developed problems forcing it to halt operations.

The KFS is hoping to ease congestion and deal with traffic snarl-ups with the arrival of the second new ferry which is expected this month. Final installations of machinery of Mv Safari is being done in Turkey before it is sent to Kenya.

The vessel was set to be delivered last month, but KFS said the installations had been delayed.

“We have been in communication with the contractor and he explained to us about the delay. We therefore anticipate to have the vessel before the end of next month,” KFS managing director Bakari Gowa said.

The vessel is one of the two bought by the government for Sh2 billion.

The ferries have been built by Turkey based company Ozata Shipyard. The first ferry, Mv Jambo was delivered in August 2017.

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