The state five vessels operated by the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) has been of concern as legislatures raised alarm about their state.
Legislators say in a report tabled in the senate that those five vessels plying the channel are either dysfunctional or lack basic safety requirements
The vessels are MV Kwale, MV Nyayo, MV Kilindini, MV Harambee and MV Likoni, all plying the Likoni channel.
In particular, the report reveals that MV Harambee does not have functional ramps nor any safety mechanisms, which is a contravention of International Safety Management (ISM) regulations, that require all vessels to dry-dock after 8,500 hours of operation.
The report faults KFS for operating MV Harambee, MV Nyayo and MV Kilindini which have already been decommissioned. The three were bought by President Daniel Arap Moi government as second-hand vessels in 1990.
The report tabled by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr on Wednesday said the ferries endangered the lives of more than 300,000 passengers and more than 6,000 motorists using the Likoni channel every day.
“I have it on record that the ramps commonly referred to as prows are not functioning and in the case of MV Kilindini, the prows are rising at less than 45 degrees,” he said on the floor of the House on Wednesday.
“Had the ramp of MV Harambee been functioning properly, the death of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu on 29th September 2019, could have been avoided,” he added.
Kighenda and Mutheu died when their vehicle rolled off MV Harambee into the Indian Ocean as the ferry was crossing Likoni channel.
Investigations are underway and several employees of KFS who were in charge of the vessel on the day the tragedy happened have been interrogated. Mutula also called for a probe into the management of African Marine Limited which KFS has single-sourced for the servicing of its vessels.
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