Two fer­ries to ar­rive next year after KFS de­layed pay­ments

Ves­sels were to ar­rive in De­cem­ber, but de­liv­ery was pushed back to April next year after Kenya Ferry Services failed to pay Turk­ish com­pany on time

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries - CHARLES MGHENYI @CharlesMghenyi

Com­muters and mo­torists us­ing the Likoni Ferry will have to wait un­til April next year for two mod­ern ves­sels to ar­rive.

The fer­ries were sup­posed to ar­rive in De­cem­ber this year, but are still be­ing built in Turkey after de­layed pay­ments, Kenya Ferry Services man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Bakari Gowa has said.

The gov­ern­ment al­lo­cated Sh1.1 bil­lion to KFS for the pur­chase of new fer­ries and re­pair of old ones. The man­age­ment trav­elled to Turkey re­cently to check on the progress. Gowa said KFS had made ad­vance pay­ments when it signed the con­tract, “but is­sues arose when the let­ter of credit was not de­liv­ered on time.”

A let­ter of credit is is­sued by a bank to an­other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, usu­ally in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, as a guar­an­tee of pay­ments.

“The LC is now in place and we ex­pect the process to move on smoothly. Based on pro­jec­tions, the ves­sels will de­lay by three or four months,” Gowa said.

He spoke to the press yes­ter­day on the side­lines of an event to cel­e­brate Cus­tomer Ser­vice Week.

Gowa said the fer­ries will be fit­ted with CCTVs to en­hance se­cu­rity and will be spa­cious to ac­com­mo­date more ve­hi­cles and com­muters.

“They will be dou­ble-decked ves­sels. The lower side will be des­ig­nated for ve­hi­cles while the up­per side will be for peo­ple. The up­per side will have seats,” he said.

Only four fer­ries the MV Likoni, Nyayo, Kilin­dini and Kwale op­er­ate in the Chan­nel. The MV Haram­bee was with­drawn for re­pairs.

KFS engi­neers are in­stalling two new en­gines, bought for Sh22 mil­lion, on the MV Haram­bee. After re­pairs, one of the two new fer­ries, ei­ther the MV Likoni or the MV Kwale, will be de­ployed to op­er­ate in the Mtongwe Chan­nel. The Mtongwe Chan­nel re­quires a lighter ves­sel, ac­cord­ing to KFS man­age­ment.

JOHN CHESOLI

Kenya Ferry Services man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Bakari Gowa speaks to a driver at the Likoni Chan­nel in Mom­basa yes­ter­day/

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