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(eTN) – UPDATE (NOVEMBER 3, 2012): It has been confirmed from a regular source in Mombasa that the workers of the Kenya Ferry Service have resumed duty and ferry services are underway

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(eTN) – UPDATE (NOVEMBER 3, 2012): It has been confirmed from a regular source in Mombasa that the workers of the Kenya Ferry Service have resumed duty and ferry services are underway, clearing the backlog of traffic as this information us uploaded.
Confirmation is still outstanding though that ALL issues between the union and management have been resolved, which if not the case could result in further outages.

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In breaking news it was learned that the ferries at the Likoni Channel, linking the island of Mombasa with the South Coast, were out of operation this morning, leaving hundreds of tourists and thousands of commuters stranded at both sides of the channel.

No immediate cause of the halt of operations was given, but only weeks ago a strike was narrowly avoided when negotiations resumed between the Kenya Ferry Services and the unions. Should indeed no progress have been made, this could be the cause of the stoppage, although there could also be other reasons for it.

UPDATE:

In was learned that the ferries at the Likoni Channel, linking the island of Mombasa with the South Coast, had been grounded by striking workers, as the union and management had apparently failed to reach an agreement over wage increases and other benefits following a slow go some weeks ago.

At that time, government officials had directed the company’s management, seen by a number of observers contacted since as the main problem in the ongoing labor dispute, to once again engage in talks.

The failure of negotiations led to the sudden turn for the worse yesterday, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded on both sides of the channel and forcing tour operators to make detours over, at times, very poorly maintainted roads of as much as 80 kilometers, to reach the airport for flight departures or for those tourists arriving at their resorts at the famous Diani beaches.

Both the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association and the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Coast Branch, were closely involved with their colleagues from the Kenya Association of Tour Operators to monitor the situation and guide their members on how to cope with the difficult circumstances.

The police was drafted in to secure the alternative route to avoid thugs from exploiting the slow speeds over the rough patches of roads, riddled with potholes.

Industry leaders have also once again demanded that the new bypass highway, due to be constructed to connect the Nairobi-Mombasa road and the international airport to the South Coast, be given absolute priority now to create a short and secure transit link.

Estimates provided to this correspondent by a number of sources from Mombasa speak of millions of shillings lost in having to use the long detour, besides the inevitable dents into the reputation of the Kenya coast as a desirable tourist destination, where businesses are already struggling with lower than anticipated occupancies as a result of often outrageously false media reports on the security situation.

It has been confirmed from a regular source in Mombasa that the workers of the Kenya Ferry Service have resumed duty and ferry services are underway, clearing the backlog of traffic as this information us uploaded.

Confirmation is still outstanding though that ALL issues between the union and management have been resolved, which if not the case could result in further outages.

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