300,000 Kenyans are flirting with death daily riding rickety old ferries as state agency sits pretty and watch, damning report reveals

A ferry in Mombasa.
  • The Auditor General office has released a damning report on the safety of the country’s ferries which are a key lifeline for coastal residents.
  • The report accuses the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) of contravening International Safety Management (ISM) by failing to service its vessels as required, exposing passengers to accidents.
  • Mv Likoni and Mv Kwale for instance has been operating in the channel for more than 30,000 hours without mandatory overhaul dry docking.

More than 300,000 Kenyans and about 6,000 motorists are flirting with death daily plying the Likoni channel on old and rickety ferries.

The Auditor General office has released a damning report on the safety of the country’s ferries which are a key lifeline for coastal residents.

According to the audit report for the year ended 2017, most of the pulleys on most of the ferries are defective, causing the plows to be submerged in water when the ferries are moving.

The report accuses the state agency Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) of contravening International Safety Management (ISM) by failing to service its vessels as required, exposing passengers to accidents.

The report further adds that KFS did not meet the set ISM recommendations to ensure the vessels dry-dock after 8,500 hours of operations.

Instead, Mv Likoni and Mv Kwale operating in the channel had operated for more than 30,000 hours without mandatory overhaul dry docking.

The audit also revealed that the agency had not insured all ferries for third party, making it almost impossible to settle any liabilities and compensation in case of an accident.

In the past decade, there has been an increasing cases of marine accidents mostly caused by unsea-worthy vessels. Various reports indicate about 50 percent of the accidents have involved capsizing of vessels, while about 40 percent were related to drowning from vessels with low levels of compliance to maritime safety regulations.

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