The long awaited new MV Jambo ferry will ease movement across the busy Likoni channel. The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) says that the state-of-the-art ferry left Ozata shipyard, Turkey, a few weeks ago on its way to Kenya.
Expected to arrive before end of July, the MV Jambo would be launched officially by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Earlier, the KFS had sent its team to Turkey to check on the progress and construction of this state of the art, and they confirmed that the ferry was ready to start its operation at Likoni Channel.
MV Jambo is expected to help ease current services at the busy Likoni channel. The ferry is double ended, it has a length of around 84.6 meters and has been crowned with both Turkey and Kenyan Flags. To ensure that services provided at the channel would be efficient, the Kenyan government requested for a second ferry, Mv Safari, which is expected to arrive on 3rd November 2017. It is estimated that the two ferries cost the Kenyan government KSh 1.9 billion.
De-congesting the Likoni channel
The two new ferries would substantially decongest the Likoni sea channel. Each of them, for instance, would have a capacity of 1391 passengers and are anticipated to transport more than 330,000 people and more than 5000 vehicles on a daily basis. The Likoni channel, where the two ferries would be operating, happens to be the main route used by tourist as they come to and from their hotels.
The new state of the art ferry would have additional features that older ferries do not have. For instance, commuters using the older ferries like MV Nyayo, MV Kilindini, and MV Harambee are forced to stand while they are traveling. The MV Jambo ferry, on the other hand, has seats and commuters would not have to stand while traveling. In addition to that, the new ferry also has designated area for expectant women, people with disabilities as well as for the elderly people. Another outstanding feature about this new ferry is that it would be having washrooms for its commuters.
Current ferries have experienced a number of issues that the new ferry is expected to solve. For instance, operations at the sea channel were recently paralyzed after MV Nyayo ferry developed some mechanical problems early one morning at around 7 am.
Challenges with the old ferries at Likoni channel in Mombasa
MV Nyayo which is an old ferry and currently the biggest had been pushed by heavy ocean tides off the channel and was moved towards the deep sea with passengers on board. This incident caused panic to its commuters. A while back, the MV Harambee ferry stalled on the ramp due to low tides. At this time, MV Nyayo had experienced some mechanical issues and had been withdrawn.
The only vessels that were in operation were MV Kwale and MV Likoni ferries. Such incidents led to a gridlock at the sea channel. Many commuters that were heading to different destinations had to be left stranded. Some commuters are injured during these incidents as some of them stampede following a rush to board available ferries.
The Kenya Ferry Service has promised the arrival of MV Jambo would solve such challenges experienced in the past and it would help in delivering efficient services.