Nairobi News

HustleWhat's Hot

Ferry service at Likoni Channel in danger of collapse

Kenya Ferry Services’ operations at the Likoni Channel could grind to a halt unless the Government releases the Sh200 million pledged by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to Mombasa January.

Sources, who are not allowed to speak to the media, told the Nation the situation was dire although KFS staff were doing their best to keep the service running.

“Since the President’s visit, services have improved greatly but our morale is low because of malfunctioning vessels,” one of the sources said.

Workers in the technical department said all the functional ferries —  mv Nyayo, mv Kilindini, mv Kwale and mv Likoni, needed urgent repairs and dry dock maintenance.

One of them said another, mv Harambee, which was taken to the African Marine & General Engineering Company’s shipyard in January for repairs, was attracting a penalty of Sh10,000 a day as the government had not paid the required deposit.

“This amount will hit a million shillings soon if the funds are not released immediately,” the source said.

Acting KFS boss Bakari Gowa confirmed that mv Harambee, mv Nyayo and mv Likoni were in dire need of repairs and maintenance.

“Mv Harambee needs an engine replacement, while Kilindini, Kwale and Nyayo require an engine overhaul and generator replacement,” he said.


He said there was no time to effect repairs as the vessels operated round-the-clock.

Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu on Monday said the Transport ministry was aware of the problems.

“The ministry is doing all it can to deal with the problems at the Likoni Channel and last week we presented our budget to the National Assembly,” she said.

Recently, the Kenya Maritime Authority, which inspects the ferries as required by law, said it inspected the mv Nyayo and mv Likoni on December 22, and mv Kilindini and mv Kwale on December 23 last year.

It said the inspection did not reveal any major deficiencies, but only minor problems that were rectified.

At peak time, over 12,000 passengers cross the channel per hour, translating into 300,000 people and more than 6,000 motor vehicles daily. This figure is projected to reach 500,000 by 2018.

Average revenue collection from the island and mainland toll stations stands at Sh1.3 million daily except for Sundays and Mondays when it drops to about Sh1 million.

The government is also required to subsidise KFS with about Sh665 million annually for salaries and other expenditure.