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Massive congestion at Likoni channel as ferry withdrawn

Tuesday January 15 2019

MV Nyayo in Likoni

Motorists and pedestrians alight from MV Nyayo at the Likoni channel in Mombasa on January 15, 2019. There was congestion following the withdrawal of the biggest vessel, MV Jambo, which developed mechanical problems. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The withdrawal of the country’s biggest ferry, MV Jambo, from the busy Likoni crossing channel in Mombasa has resulted to a massive congestion.

The ferry broke down last week.

Thousands of commuters and motorists had a hard time Wednesday morning while accessing the channel which is used by more than 300,000 people daily.

Three ferries, MV Kwale, MV Harambee and MV Nyayo, were the only ones operating, leading to the disruption of operations.

The congestion affected commuters going to work, who forced their way into the three available ferries.



Motorists and pedestrians seeking to cross the Indian Ocean to the South Coast were forced to queue for long hours to get transport.

Women and children were the most affected by the problem that started last week when MV Jambo developed mechanical problems.

Kenya Ferry Service (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Gowa said the vessel’s clutch developed a problem and was withdrawn to be fixed.

“The clutch overheated and we had to take the vessel for repairs. We are working round the clock to have the ferry fixed and get it back to operation,” said Mr Gowa.


MV Jambo is the biggest ferry at the Likoni channel and since it was bought, it has helped in dealing with perennial congestions at the crossing.

The ferry carries more than 1,600 people at ago and has a capacity to carry 64 vehicles.

Unlike the old ferries, MV Jambo has washrooms for passengers.

It also has two rescue and emergency boats on-board.

The vessel is also fixed with CCTV cameras and has a spacious sitting space on the upper deck with a shade.