MPs order grounding of MV Harambee, wretched ferries

PIC team recommends vessels be withdrawn from operation until properly repaired

In Summary
  • They said poor state of vessel caused the deaths of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter Amanda on September 29
  • MPs further want KMA to review the ferry inspection procedure to check for lapses and weaknesses
The MV Harambee ferry
CURSED VESSEL?: The MV Harambee ferry
Image: FILE

Members of Parliament have ordered that MV Harambee – the ferry which caused the death of a woman and her daughter at the Likoni crossing channel in September - be grounded.

The Public Investments Committee ruled that the vessel should be in operation only after it undergoes dry docking and significant repairs.

In a report tabled in Parliament yesterday, the committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir asked the industry regulator, Kenya Maritime Authority, to enforce the directive.


They held that the sorry state of the vessel caused the deaths of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter Amanda on September 29.

“The non-functional prow partly played a part in the accident that claimed the lives of the two when a vehicle slipped off MV Harambee,” the report reads.

The MPs concluded that the vessel was overloaded when the accident occurred and that the car was dangerously parked at the edge of the deck with no chain to prevent vehicles from slipping off the ferry.

“Additionally, the props were submerged which further exposed the vehicle to slipping off the ferry,” the report reads.

The committee further asks KMA to ground all other ferries that do not meet the safety standards by canceling their certificates.

“The authority should undertake fresh inspection of all ferries to determine which of the vessels meet safety standards and have undergone scheduled maintenance,” the report signed by Nassir reads.

The committee further wants the National Treasury to urgently release funds to the Kenya Ferry Services to ensure the vessels at the channel are repaired adequately.


“The funds should be ring-fenced in future budgets to ensure the monies are available whenever KFS needs them for maintenance,” the PIC said.

The lawmakers have also invited the Auditor General’s office to conduct a value-for-money audit on the contract between African Marine and General Engineering and KFS for repair of ferries.

This will be to establish whether there was probity, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funds since African Marine has been the sole provider of dry-docking services.

“Kenya Ports Authority should consider establishing a dry dock facility for the repair and maintenance of maritime vessels, including ferries,” the committee said.

MPs further want KMA to review the ferry inspection procedure to check for lapses and weaknesses of the process.

“Measures should be put in place to ensure the inspection procedure has no loopholes and that vessels are comprehensively inspected before being issued with safety certificates,” Nassir’s team added.

The legislators called for the recruitment of younger ferry inspectors to help with succession planning as the current inspector is aged.

“KMA should recruit drivers and provide the requisite training on search and rescue in the event of accidents. The divers should be stationed in every ferry that makes a crossing at Likoni channel to respond to accidents,” the report reads.

The team further wants ferry users to face stiff penalties for failing to adhere to safety guidelines while using the ferries.

The MPs have also recommended that the company providing security services at the channel be dropped for negligence.