Kenya Ferry Services wants the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court decision to suspend construction of a new ferry.
In August last year, High Court judge Eric Ogola suspended construction in Turkey of MV Safari until a case challenging its procurement is heard and determined.
He allowed the docking and launching of another ferry, the MV Jambo constructed in Turkey.
The petition was filed by Bornriz Insurance Marine Surveyors Limited, which was contracted by the KFS to advise on the new ferries.
Bornriz moved to court when the contract was terminated. But through lawyer Nani Mungai, the KFS now wants a three-judge appellate bench to consider the plight of Likoni residents, whom it says are in dire need of the new ferry.
Judges Alnasir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Martha Koome will rule on April 26.
FERRIES BREAK DOWN
Mungai said the orders by High Court judge Ogola stopped the construction, which had already started, and the judge erred.
The judge based his decision on mere speculation over safety concerns raised by Bornriz, Mungai said
He said the court ignored the fact that the KFS had proved the minor defects raised by Bornriz had been resolved and corrected by the builder, Ozata Tersanecilik San Ve Tic Limited Sti.
The KFS said Bornriz did not have a problem with construction of the MV Safari and therefore it was necessary for construction to proceed.
Delaying the new ferry has jeopardised operations at the channel, which is used by at least 30,000 commuters and 6,000 vehicles daily, the water transport agency said.
Mungai said the five ferries serving residents at the channel have been in use for 30 years.
They often break down and undermine movement of residents and vehicles, hence, the need for a new ferry, he said.
Mungai said the KFS had spent an extra Sh290 million to fast-track construction.
Bornriz said the KFS should not complain because the money spent was the taxpayer’s — not the agency’s.
Through lawyer Kinyua, it said it was right for the High Court to suspend the construction, as several safety concerns had been raised.
Kinyua said during the sea trial of MV Jambo, the engine overheated, an indication it was not safe for use. He said the ferry was incomplete and did not have spare parts and special tools for maintenance.
Kinyua told the court that the KFS will have to ferry in engineers from Turkey in case the new ferry breaks down.