Commuters frustrated as Likoni ferry woes persist


The management of ferries seems to have overwhelmed the Kenya Ferry Service (KFS) board, as no effective solutions have been found for the frequent crises experienced at the busy Likoni crossing channel.

Commuters using the channel have on many occasions expressed their frustrations to the KFS management on the deplorable situation at the only crossing linking Mombasa Island and South Coast to Tanzania.

However, KFS has attributed the woes to lack of enough ferries and overworking of other vessels said to have been operational for the past 25 years.

The management has also been complaining of lack of finances and the failure of “qualified standards” for vessel maintenance that has led to recurrent mechanical breakdowns.

On Thursday morning, two ferries were grounded, leaving only the MV Likoni, whose one prow is faulty, and the MV Kwale in operation.

The MV Harambee, one of the other two vessels, stalled on a ramp on the Mombasa Island side while the MV Nyayo’s one engine developed a mechanical problem, forcing it to be taken for quick maintenance, thus worsening the situation.

A three-kilometre vehicle queue stretched beyond Pandya Hospital and a one-kilometre jam formed on the Likoni Southern mainland side.

Those using vehicles were the most affected and were forced to spend hours in the snarl-up as it took up to three hours for them to get into a ferry.

“I have been here for about two hours now. I am supposed to deliver medicine stocks to Kinondo Kwetu Hospital in Ukunda.

“The hospital management has been calling, complaining that their stock has not been delivered, not knowing that I am stuck here,” said Ms Gladys of Ocean View Pharmaceutical Company.

KFS Communication Manager Elizabeth Wachira said the MV Harambee had stalled because of low water and the vessel was expected to be removed from the ramp at around 2pm.

“This is a natural act and we cannot blame the waters for being low. We will just have to wait until the water rises,” said Ms Wachira, who was on the ground when the Nation visited the crossing channel.