MV safari ferry to arrive in February

Commuters at the Likoni Ferry Channel.One Coronavirus case has been detected in Likoni's Senti Kumi estate PHOTO COURTESY

A ferry that has been under construction in Turkey  for the past three years is set to arrive in the country  next month.

This is according to the Kenya Ferry Services Managing director Bakari Gowa.

Speaking to Baraka FM on Wednesday, Gowa said that engineers were in the final stages of installing vital equipment on the ferry that has been dubbed Mv Safari.

This comes just a few weeks after MV Harambee was withdrawn from the channel for maintenance purposes.

“The parliamentary investment committee recommended that MV Harambee be dry docked  for maintenance, this is the reason why it is not operating “said Gowa.

Two ferries Mv Jambo and Mv Safari were  procured from Turkey at a cost of  sh 2.1 billion in 2017.

Mv Jambo arrived in Mombasa in August 2017 but the construction of MV safari was stalled by a suit filed by Turkish company Bornriz Surveyors Marine Insurance.

The company which had been contracted by Kenya Ferry Services to construct both Mv Jambo and Mv safari had gone to court seeking to stop construction of Mv Safari over safety concerns.

However, a ruling issued by High Court judge Erick Ogola in Mombasa last March ruled that the safety of MV safari could not be questioned based on the alleged unseaworthiness of MV Jambo.

The news is likely to be a reprieve for ferry users who have had to bear the consequences of either of the six ferries breaking down or being withdrawn for servicing.

There are six ferries namely Mv Jambo, Mv Nyayo,Mv Kwale, Mv Likoni, Mv Harambee and Mv Kilindini all servicing the Likoni and now suspended Mtongwe ferry services.

According to statistics from the Kenya Ferry Services 2.1 million vehicles and over 26 million people used the channel in 2019.

Both the senate and commuters have continuously raised questions on the seaworthiness of the vessels operating at the channel.

Last year, president Uhuru Kenyatta fired entire Kenya Ferry Services board days after a vehicle fell from the MV Harambee ferry and plunged into the Indian ocean killing Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu.