Crisis at Likoni Channel After Ferry Stalls

  • An image of MV Safari
    MV Safari docked at Mbaraki Wharf in Mombasa on Saturday, April 25.
  • There was a crisis at the Likoni Channel after the MV Safari ferry stalled on its way to ferry passengers and vehicular cargo, creating a major traffic snarl-up. 

    This led to thousands of residents opting to use the newly launched Liwatoni floating bridge to cross the Likoni channel.

    MV Likoni was also marooned on the other side of the channel and had to wait for the floating bridge to be crossed in order to resume operations.  

    Videos of traffic snarl-ups at the Mombasa mainland side also surfaced online showing the extent of the crisis.

    The Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Likoni, Mombasa

    Reports indicate that only two ferries had been deployed to carry vehicular traffic in the morning. After the incident, all passengers were diverted to use the bridge instead.

    The new MV Safari ferry was launched early last year by the government. 

    The move was expected to ease traffic flow at the channel especially due to the traffic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 virus.

    On a daily basis, about 300,000 people cross the Likoni ferry channel and 6,000 vehicles are transported across the channel.

    The ferry has a capacity of about 1500 passengers and 64 cars but only carries about 1,000 in line with the measures enforced by the government to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

    The government also unveiled the Ksh1.9 billion Liwatoni Floating Bridge on December 10, 2020 meant to ease the traffic flow even further.

    This was however met with challenges as the majority of Mombasa residents pointed out various issues leading to them opting for the ferry instead of the bridge.

    Some expressed fears of using the bridge, stating that they did not understand the technology behind it.

    Others pointed out factors such as distance and the extreme temperatures whereby residents would take ages to cross the 800 meter bridge while being exposed to the scorching sun.

    The ferry stalling incident came a day after a tourist bus plunged into the Indian ocean at the Likoni ferry.

    Reports indicate that the brakes of the bus failed as the driver intended to board a ferry headed to Mombasa island.

    Luckily, no one was hurt during the incident.

    A bus plunged into the Indian Ocean on Sunday, January 10, 2020.
    A bus plunged into the Indian Ocean on Sunday, January 10, 2021