• December 9, 2021
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Kalangala residents build wooden ferry to ease transport

Kalangala residents build wooden ferry to ease transport

Residents in the island district of Kalangala are putting final touches on a wooden ferry expected to ”very soon’ ease transport across remote landing sites on Lake Victoria.

Construction of the wooden ferry measuring about 100 feet with a cargo capacity of 100tonnes, is currently at 60 percent and expected to be ready in early 2022. 

Kyamuswa County Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Moses Kabuusu said although government plans to procure a modern ferry [MV Kyamuswa] in about three- years’ time, they found it urgent to develop their own. 

“We have no guarantee that the islanders will get the long-awaited vessel under the National Development Plan (NDP) III. Locals have sourced for the timber and other materials for putting up the wooden ferry,” the legislator said in a December 8 interview.

The improvised wooden ferry is expected to support hundreds of residents of Bubeke, Bukasa, Nkese, Kyeserwa, Mazinga and Bufumira islands connect to the main island of Buggala for business and social services.

Mr William Ssembatya, the lead shipwright, said unlike the modern ferry built with expensive materials including steel, their wooden ferry will have an imported hydro propulsion unit. 

“We are already aware of all the other components that are supposed to help the vessel move. We have so far spent about Shs92million on this project but we expect to spend more than 180million. We have already lobbied for the propellers through our leaders and partners,” he told this publication. 

The developers of the makeshift ferry have been advised by local authorities not to compromise safety standards.

“The vessel must meet required standards and get insured before it can be allowed to move on the water. It will be inspected by the Marine board. For instance, it should have a propulsion unit to measure the appropriateness of the vessel weight and cargo on board,” Kalangala District engineer Mr Novart Mukajanga echoed. 

Mr Allan Ssempebwa, the public relations manager at Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), which manages major ferries in the country, said they are not aware about the wooden ferry. 

“May be they [local leaders] will inform us after completing the vessel,” he said.

Kalangala District has two major routes connecting its 84 islands to the mainland. The routes include one that connects through Masaka with two ferries [MV Pearl and MV Ssese] and the Entebbe- Nakiwogo route currently plied by MV Kalangala.

There are also private vessels like MV Vanessa, MV Natalie and MV SENCATA which ply the same route. All the vessels dock at Buggala Island while all the other islands still struggle for transport means.

Many months ago, Kalangala received a new vessel, MV NODL Victoria which is expected to operate alongside the existing MV Kalangala procured in 2005 by the government.

Source Daily Monitor

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