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The Kenyan government has finally received a new ferry after months of waiting.
Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Limited staff led by its Managing Director Bakari Gowa, welcomed the much-awaited “MV Safari” ferry as it arrived in Mombasa on Saturday, April 25 after leaving Turkey early February 2020.
The ferry which was one of the two procured at a cost of Ksh2 billion by the government when it signed a contract on June 27, 2015, docked at Mbaraki Wharf, after a maiden trip at the Likoni Ferry Crossing channel.
The other ferry, MV Jambo, which has the capacity of up to 1,350 passengers and 60 vehicles, was delivered in July 2017 and has been in operation at the channel.
KFS now has seven ferries, with others including;
1. MV Kwale
2. MV Likoni
3. MV Kilindini
4. MV Harambee and..
5. MV Nyayo
When the two are added,
6. MV Jambo
7. MV Safari
According to the KFS MD, MV Safari has a carrying capacity similar to MV Jambo which on normal situations can accommodate a total of 1,359 people, 12 persons with disability and 64 vehicles.
The vessel can travel at a maximum speed of eight knots according to Turkey’s Ozata Shipyard, where the ferry was constructed.
“We are here today at Mbaraki Wharf to see MV Safari, it’s a new ferry that people were expecting since yesterday. It has been a long journey as you are aware the sister ferry arrived in July 2017, now the sister ferry MV Safari is with us here today,” said Gowa, Saturday.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the country, Gowa noted the new ferry will be allowed to carry 1,000 people only, in accordance with the government’s social distancing directive.
However, commuters, motorists and Kenyans at large will wait longer before using the new ferry which has been under construction in Turkey.
“For now as you are aware, we cannot use the ferry immediately. It will have to go under some checking.. the ferry itself, the crew on board.. so we’ll wait until we get the Covid-19 status of the crew on board.”
“Thereafter, the other processes will follow which include the final inspection of the ferry… also sea trials and thereafter fumigation of the vessel,” noted Bakari Gowa.