Likoni ferry tragedy affects operations at Mombasa port

ANTHONY KITIMO

By ANTHONY KITIMO
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The search and ongoing operation to retrieve the car that plunged into the Indian Ocean with a 35-year old woman and her 4-year old daughter on board on September 29, 2019, has affected movement of ship in and out of Port of Mombasa. At least eight vessels have been kept waiting to dock.

Information from marine traffic database as at 1 pm Thursday indicated that eight vessels were kept at bay between 1.5 to 4 knots away from the Port.

The divers were retrieving the vehicle, a Toyota Isis registration number KCB 289C which plunged into the Indian Ocean last week Sunday.

The vessels which were on waiting include MV Arta Baz, MV Key Ohana, Mv Express Spain at 2.7, 3 and 1.9 knots away while Mv Federal Barents, Mv Due were located at 2.6 and 2.1 knots away.

Some of the vessels which were scheduled to dock at the port of Mombasa Thursday morning were delayed include MV MSC Chiara (PA), MV Navios Amarillo and Mv New Bliss (PA).

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Before the operation, Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said they had to delay the operation for few minutes to allow two ships to cross the channel before the exercise.

“Though we have not stopped the operation of the ferries, if need be we might suspend them since we have reached critical stage of operation which is estimated to take at least three hours to retrieve the car,” said Mr Oguna during the Thursday morning media briefing.

In the past 11 days during the search and rescue operation at the Likoni channel where Ms Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu drowned on Sunday evening, several vessels operating in the Indian Ocean have been forced to reschedule its movements to give divers time to identify the spot where the vehicle might have been landed after it slipped off from MV Harambee.

Movement of ships in and out of the Port of Mombasa and the ongoing dredging have been blamed for interfering with the visibility in the channel making it difficult for the divers to locate the car.

The Nation has learnt during critical operation time, ships are suspended to increase visibility in the Ocean.

 The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is yet to give its report on the delay of the ships turnaround time which is attributed to the ongoing rescue operations at the Likoni for the past 11 days.