Two ferries broke down at the weekend, causing a massive congestion on the Likoni Channel that took hours to clear.
Mv Pwani developed a pump problem on Saturday at 3pm and had trouble lowering its prows, while Mv Harambee’s engine was mixing oil and water, forcing Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) officials to withdraw it.
This left only Mv Nyayo and Mv Mvita, which normally operate on the Mtongwe Channel, to deal with the jam that stretched up to Pandya Hospital on the island section and up to Likoni police junction on the mainland side.
KFS managing director Kashero Deche took charge of operations, helping to clear impatient commuters who we crammed on the waiting bays.
“The worst people to deal with in such situations are the commuters, so we decided to clear them using the two ferries,” he said.
He instructed officials on the mainland side to give priority to motorists rushing tourists for their flights at Moi International Airport.
In a bid to revive Mv Pwani and Mv Harambee, Mr Deche recalled two teams of technicians to join the engineer working on the ferries.
“We have 15 technicians struggling to repair the mechanical problems of the two ferries and I hope they will resume operations shortly,” he said.
At one time, impatient truck drivers had to be stopped by armed police officers from boarding Mv Nyayo, which has a height limit for trucks due to its upper deck used by commuters.
“We arrived here (channel) at 5.30pm from Amboseli Game Reserve and we are supposed to be on our way to Neptune and Sea Lodge hotels in the south coast but we are still here,” said Mr Salim Richa, a tour driver ferrying six tourists.