January 16, 2021

Summary

Since January 10 there have been at least three accidents at the Likoni ferry.

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Likono ferry – A tragedy waiting to happen

Likono ferry – A tragedy waiting to happen

Last September Mariam Kigenda and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu died tragically when the car they were in slipped into the Likoni channel as they tried to drive on to the ferry. They were not the first to die at the crossing point, they will not be the last, and without immediate and effective action the fear must be that one day there will be a major disaster with great loss of life at Likoni.

In December 2019 a Mr John Mutinda died when his car slid from the ramp leading to the ferry. The police said it was suicide.

Since January 10 there have been at least three accidents at the Likoni ferry.

Last weekend saw a 35-seater bus slip from the ferry, fortunately without loss of life.

Some of the problem is that a newly built ramp is very slippery, particularly when it rains.

On Monday, the MV Safari, recently brought into service, stalled in mid-stream and started to drift to the sea after it’s engine failed.

Multiple times every day sees the overcrowded ferries plying across the channel.

A new floating bridge spanning the channel was built to ease pedestrian congestion at the ferry but the bridge is often closed, leaving people stranded.

APPEASE THE ‘GODS OF THE SEA’?

Elders of the Mijikenda community have called for rituals to be held – apparently including the spilling of cows blood – to appease the gods of the sea.

The Kenya Forum looks to a more worldly authority to avert the ever-present risk of tragedy.

In December  the Kenya Ports Authority were put in charge of the crossing by the government, taking over from Kenya Ferry Services. They need to take action this day. One collision and it will not be one death we are reporting but quite possibly hundreds.

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