Kenya Ferry Services’ latest ferry MV Jambo ferry developed a mechanical problem on Monday evening throwing motorists into panic mode.
The ferry that was procured in 2017 to ease congestion in the channel was ferrying vehicles from the mainland to the Island when the incident happened.
Kenya Ferry Services managing director Bakari Gowa who confirmed the incident blamed the problem on high tides and strong current that were experienced on Monday afternoon.
“The engine was overheating because of high current and high tides forcing the coxswain to put off one engine and continue operating with only one engine,” said Gowa.
On Monday, the service had sent a warning saying the tides would be at their highest point at 4.58 am and 5.18 pm.
A tidal cycle lasts between 12 to 13 hours rising for 6-7 hours and falling for another 6 -7 hours and according to eyewitnesses, the incident happened at 3.00 pm.
The ferry that arrived in the country in 2017 has a capacity of 1500 passengers and 60 vehicles.
The ferry is considered the safest vessel in the channel unlike her peers MV Nyayo, MV Kilindini and MV Harambee that were de-registered by Lloyd’s register in 2007 over being unseaworthy.
This is the second time the ferry is developing mechanical problems while in transit in less than 6 months.
Last October, The ferry stalled midway after its steering wheel developed mechanical problems.
“At around 2:30 pm Jambo ferry experienced a steering problem while loaded from the mainland, Kwale ferry towed her to island ramp where vehicles passengers alighted and later secured for repairs.” The service had said in a statement.
A new ferry dubbed MV safari was expected to arrive in the country this month.
Currently, only four ferries are operating in the channel after two ferries; MV Nyayo and MV Harambee were withdrawn for repair and servicing.