KFS launching of Ksh2 billion new ferries on hault

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The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) is yet to know whether it will launch two new ferries purchased at a cost of Ksh2 billion from Turkey.

According to KFS, the court should lift the suspension for inspection of the newly-acquired MV Jambo which arrived in the country on Thursday last week.

High Court Judge Erick Ogola is  expected to deliver his rulling today (Tuesday morning) which will determine whether the burden of crossing the busy Likoni channel will be decongested.

Bonriz Marine Insurance sought to stop the launching of the ferry, after the Kenya Ferry Services nullified their contract.

Appearing before Justice Ogola last week, KFS through its lawyers argue that all safety standard concerns were conclusively addressed in meetings between Bonriz Insurance Marine Surveyors’ representatives and interested parties including the shipbuilders OzataTersanecilik San Ve Tic Ltd STI, Bureau Veritas Marine Division, the quality control agent and Volvo Penta the manufactures of the engines.

The lawyers said comprehensive and rigorous sea trials were undertaken and Bureau Veritas issued a Classification Certificate that is the final certificate of safety and seaworthiness.

“Public interest overrides the petitioner’s interests” lawyer Nani Mungai of MMC Africa Law.

The sea channel is estimated to transport 330,000 people and 5,000 vehicles daily.

Currently, the Likoni crossing has only seven ferries which barely meet the transport demand of residents traveling on either side for their daily activities. Three of the ferries were purchased in 1990 and are said to be dilapidated.

The two new ferries will each have a seating capacity of 1,391 passengers.

Special considerations have also been made for people living with disability, elderly passengers, expectant women and sick passengers all of whom will have their own areas.

Other amenities on the ferries currently not available include washrooms.

To enhance safety, the vessels will also have two rescue and emergency boats on-board.

Kenyans crossing the channels are also facing hard times following an increase in population at the South Coast.

The situation gets further compounded whenever the ferries develop mechanical problems which end up resulting in hours of massive traffic jams experienced at both sides of the crossing.