The perennial congestion at the busy Likoni sea channel in Mombasa is expected to ease with the launch of a new car and passenger ferry on Saturday.
The marine vessel that made its maiden voyage was delivered last week by Ozata Shipyard, the Turkish company that built and shipped the ferry.
The new vessel christened, MV Jambo, one of the two new ferries built in Turkey at a cost of Sh. 2.1 billion was commissioned by Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS), James Macharia.
The inauguration event was also attended by Tourism CS, Najib Balala, Chief of Kenya Defense Forces, Gen. Samson Mwathethe, Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director (MD), Catherine Mturi-Wairi and a host of other senior government officials.
Macharia said the commissioning of the state-of-the-art ferry would alleviate the present state of the poor ferry services at the busy channel that transports an estimated 330,000 people and 5,000 vehicles per day.
He said the second new ferry MV Safari is expected to be delivered on November 3, 2017 bringing the number of ferries plying the Likoni channel to seven.
The CS said the two new ferries are 84 meters long and can each carry 64 vehicles and 1500 passengers.
In the new double-ended ferries, passengers will be seated on the upper deck and vehicles in the lower deck.
Unlike the old ferries the new ones have washrooms for passengers and boasts of two rescue emergency boats on board.
It also has designated areas for people living with disabilities, the elderly and expectant women.
Currently five ferries MV Harambee, MV Nyayo, MV Kilindini, MV Likoni and MV Kwale are operating at the ferry crossing point that links Mombasa Island to the mainland south.
At the same time, Macharia said the government will not relent until it provides adequate solution to the challenges confronting the busy Likoni channel.
To this end, he said, the government will press ahead with the Likoni channel cable car project that is estimated to cost Sh.5 billion.
He said the express cable sky car has the capacity to move 11,000 commuters per hour per direction across the channel.
Source: Kenya News Agency