Two of Kenya’s rickety old ferries grind to a halt leaving more than 300,000 commuters stranded

Kenya Ferry Services suspend Mv Nyayo and Mv Likoni. (Ferry Kenya)
  • Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) has suspended the two ferries indefinitely after developing mechanical problems.
  • Mv Likoni's propeller is damaged and was withdrawn from service Monday while Mv Nyayo was suspended from service late Tuesday.
  • Mv Likoni and Mv Nyayo breakdown only points to a bigger problem which Kenya Ferry Services has been slow to address and willfully endangering thousands of Kenyan lives daily.

More than 300,000 people who cross the busy Likoni channel daily will now have to do without the services of Mv Nyayo and Mv Likoni.

Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) has suspended the two ferries indefinitely after developing mechanical problems.

Mv Likoni's propeller is damaged and was withdrawn from service Monday while Mv Nyayo was suspended from service late Tuesday which now leaves only three ferries to serve residents and the over 6,000 vehicles that cross daily.

Commuters will now solely rely on the services of Mv Jambo, Mv Kwale and Mv Kilindini. With only three vessels operating, motorists coming from the mainland on Wednesday morning were forced to wait for hours before crossing.

“It was chaotic in the morning. The situation is now a bit calm. Everyone was rushing to get a ferry,” a police officer said, Business Daily reported.

Mv Likoni and Mv Nyayo breakdown only points to a bigger problem which Kenya Ferry Services has been slow to address and willfully endangering thousands of Kenyan lives daily.

According to an 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.

Meanwhile, Coast residents will have to wait longer before the Sh210 billion ($2.1 billion) Likoni bridge is constructed and completed.

The multi-billion project is still at the design and consultancy stage.

The Likoni bridge is one of the key alternatives that the Kenyan government is seeking to use as a long-term solution to problems faced at the busy Likoni crossing.

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