Lamin Jawara, the Normal Supervisor (GM) of the Gambia Ferry Providers (GFS) has referred to as for extra assist from the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) and authorities, to supply steady and secure providers to ferry customers.
Jawara made this name within the wake of the latest incident which noticed the Kanilai ferry stranded at sea, for practically 4 hours, leaving many ferry customers questioning the protection of the ferries (Kanilai).
Whereas chatting with this medium concerning the incident final Thursday July twentieth, Jawara mentioned it occurred as a result of the captain had a miss-approach whereas making an attempt to land vessel, and mentioned the rear engines failed throughout re-approach of the lander.
“On the touchdown level, the captain tried a primary method however missed and needed to abort and re-approach for the second time, however throughout this course of, the rear engine failed. Due to this, the ferry was compelled to sit down as a result of winds and waves on the financial institution of the channel located on the speedy neighborhood of the ferry touchdown website and this isn’t vast sufficient, to accommodate the complete size of the ferry, however the breath of the vessel solely,” he mentioned. He defined “the ferry sat on the sand financial institution and the depth round that finish at low tide is about 1.5 m whereas the draft of the ferry is 1.7 m.” That they later had a possibility because the tide was rising however mentioned the aspect engine was not working and this made it tough for the vessel to tug itself out. He mentioned: “In consequence, they needed to look forward to the Kunta-Kinteh Ferry that was on its technique to Banjul to discharge passengers and return to Barra to rescue the passengers onboard the stranded ferry.”
In accordance with him, the incident occurred between the hours of 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm. Additional, narrating the causes of the disagreeable incident, the ferries basic supervisor mentioned the Kanilai ferry has three working engines: one on the rear and two in entrance.
“The ferry is designed with 4 engines however with time, the ferry is growing old in addition to the engines. These engines have been overhauled and because of this, lots of them have virtually reached their helpful life. Due to this fact, they want alternative as a result of these engines had been put in in 2014. And since then, they’ve by no means been changed by new ones. As we converse, the fleet of the ferry is outdated, and a lot of the vessels want alternative as a result of the helpful lifetime of a ferry spans from twenty to thirty years. He lamented that regardless that the Kanilai ferry is sort of eighteen years now, the remainder of the fleet are all greater than twenty years outdated.
“We needed to switch the engine of the Kanilai ferry, however can not discover a provider as it’s out of manufacturing. We’ve contacted the engine producer however there was no response from their finish. We’ve additionally contacted a ship-builder, who neither responded, and the engine itself is out of manufacturing. What must be achieved now could be to discover a alternative engine which would require lots of modification and re-engineering and this comes with value,” he mentioned.
One other problem revealed by Jawara was the inadequate upkeep income accessible to the ferry providers. He mentioned 85% of their income goes to the cost of employees salaries. He mentioned 85% on the cost of salaries was not the making of the ferry providers administration, however a basic increment on salaries of the GPA which routinely affected them as a subsidiary unit beneath the Gambia Ports Authority. He additional disclosed that his administration has put it to the ports authority administration and the board, that the ferry providers won’t be able to maintain the wage increment.
Jawara mentioned: “In 2021, when there was a wage increment, we made a presentation to the GPA which they supported and permitted over 2 hundred and 6 million Dalasi however we acquired about one-hundred and eighty million Dalsis or there about from the ports, most of which went again to pay salaries of employees, leaving us with solely about thirty-two million Dalasi, which was used to keep up the fleet of ferries now we have.”
He mentioned they needed to method the federal government for the increment of ferry tariff which ratio got here all the way down to about 66%, including there was one other wage increment in 2022 from GPA, which eroded virtually all of the good points from the tariff increment. This Jawara mentioned, took them again to the place they had been, struggling to maintain the service. When requested about their plans to purchase any new ferry, the GM responded within the optimistic and mentioned this could be beneath grant settlement with the African Improvement Financial institution funding, as a result of they can not purchase a brand new ferry from their very own assets.
On rescue brokers who had been anticipated to be round when such incidents occurred, however weren’t seen on this case, Jawara responded that due to the way in which the touchdown craft at Barra is, not each vessel can entry the world; that proper now, the one robust vessel that they’ve that may perform such operation is the Kunta-Kinteh ferry. He defined regardless that the GPA tug boats had been there, they may not go nearer due to draft restrictions.
Jawara mentioned the incident was unlucky like every other incident however urged the individuals to know that the quantity that the ferry service collects will not be sufficient or adequate to function the service. He nonetheless assured ferry customers of their dedication in offering steady and secure providers.