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Friday, March 06, 2015

Crisis At Likoni Ferry Mombasa As Thousands Are Stranded

Thousands of people, including motorists have spent hours on both sides of the Likoni Ferry Crossing waiting to cross after the two main ferries at the crossing developed mechanical problems. The only fully functional ferry is the MV Kilindini which is the oldest in the fleet having being first commissioned in the 1970s.

By 7 am this morning only MV Kilindini was operational and passengers rushing to work were filling it in droves and leaving no space for vehicles. Later in the morning the Ferry services management scrambled to re-organize. Now the relatively new MV Likoni (commissioned about 2 years ago) is carrying only passengers because one of the problems with it is a faulty prowl. It is being assisted by MV Harambee which has always had a faulty prowl and can therefore not carry vehicles. Only MV Kilindini is transporting vehicles resulting in a very long queue of cars and trucks on both sides of the crossing.

Decades of corruption and misplaced priorities have frustrated the building of a bridge in the terribly busy Likoni crossing. The fact that the same area is the main entry point for ships means that only a bridge that is able to open to allow ships can be constructed. This kind of bridge is rather costly.

There has also been talk since 2012 of building a causeway to join the island to the South Coast around the Mtongwe area (another less busy crossing further upstream that is also serviced by ferries) and despite assurances that funds for the project have been secured, the ground is yet to be broken for the said project.
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