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Operations at the Likoni Ferry crossing resumed Tuesday morning following after a transport glitch on Monday evening that grounded two ferries for more than three hours.
Operations at the Likoni Ferry crossing resumed Tuesday morning following after a transport glitch on Monday evening that grounded two ferries for more than three hours.

Mv Kwale and Mv Kilindini stalled at the  ramp at about 6 pm on the Island side, leaving hundreds of pedestrians and motorists stranded for hours.

There was confusion, tension and panic after the people surged too close to the sea as they tried to get  into the stalled ferries as others dashed onto the stalled Mv Kilindini.

Luckily, Kenya Navy officers  who were also crossing the channel to their Mtongwe Base helped keep the crowd in control as they held commuters and motorists from the Mombasa Island and the Likoni side at bay while Kenya Ferry Service personnel frantically worked to get the ferries moving.

A Kenya Ports Authority tug boat was brought a few minutes after 8pm to help the stuck vessels from the ramp and by 9.30pm the backlog of vehicles and commuters had cleared.

Old men, women, and school children were caught up in the stampede and were sandwiched as the commuters tried to make it onto the next ferry after the operations resumed.


In the melee, several people were injured while others lost their wallets, phones, shoes and other valuables.

On Tuesday morning, Kenya Ferry Services sent a statement to media houses saying there were no casualties in the Monday night incident and that the two ferries were now back in operation.

The unsigned statement said to be from Managing Director Musa Hassan who is out of the country on official business attributed the chaos to a rise in water tide.

“At about 6pm, there was unexpected rise in water tide, at the Likoni channel which led the grounding of the ferries at the ramp causing an interruption of services. This in addition to the huge number of pedestrians during this peak time jostling to cross over from Mombasa Island side to the mainland side led to delays,” read the statement.

Earlier, there were reports that a shortage of fuel also help ignite the crisis. Mv Harambee was said to have no fuel and the truck meant to supply the fuel was held up in a jam due to the mishap.

Commuters yesterday expressed their displeasure over the matter asked the ferry management to find a permanent solution and ensure the same never happens again.

“The situation at the ferry is a time bomb, if nothing is done we will be counting loses in the near future. How can the vessels run without fuel? KFS management is wanting and the government especially the transport ministry must address this issue promptly,” said Solomon Okoth a Likoni resident.

Mr Jones Agandi a motorist told the Daily Nation, he was on the queue on the mainland side from 6pm and by 9pm decided to leave the car and use a boda boda.


“On the island side the queue was up to Star of the Sea school near the Pandya roundabout I had to find make myself busy until 11pm when I came back only to find there was a fuel truck in the ferry refuelling it with vehicles and passengers on board. This is a health and safety risk and poor management of the ferries,” he said.

Last month, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said the ministry will float tenders for two new ferries adding that The government had allocated Sh600 million for the vessels in the financial year.

Since decommissioning of two ferries that had been declared unseaworthy in late 2012, Mtongwe residents have had to use the Likoni ferry crossing, causing them inconvenience.

The minister acknowledged that the KFS was one corporation whose function was very complicated since it dealt directly with more than 300,000 people and at least 5,000 vehicles crossing the channel every day